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Last Seen...
In her series Last Seen..., Sophie Calle creates a poetic remembrance of a famous crime: the theft in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston of five drawings by Degas, a vase, a Napoleonic eagle, and six paintings by Rembrandt, Flinck, Manet, and Vermeer. Gardner's stipulation in her will that the arrangement of the galleries remain fixed ensures that a sense of loss remains a permanent fixture of the museum. Calle interviewed curators, guards, and other staff members, asking them to describe the absent works; their varied responses are displayed as a counterpart to photographs of the labels, empty pedestals, and bare wall hooks left behind after the theft.
Sophie Calle.
Last Seen... (Vermeer, The Concert). 1991.

Ektachrome print and text, 66 3/4 x 50 7/8" (169.5 x 129.2 cm); text 34 x 30 11/16" (86 x 77.9 cm). Collection The Bohen Foundation, New York. Photo: courtesy the artist

  ©1999 The Museum of Modern Art, New York MoMA