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Lost And Found: Missing Rembrandt, Dürer Prints Turn Up At Boston Library

Not lost, just misplaced. That's the word from the Boston Library after it found two missing prints — a Dürer and Rembrandt worth a combined $630,000.

But their presumed loss had already set in motion a chain of events, including an FBI criminal probe and the resignation of the library's president.

On Wednesday, a day before they were found, Boston Library President Amy Ryan announced her resignation in the face of mounting criticism over the "missing" prints — one by German Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer titled "Adam and Eve" valued at about $600,000 and the other, a Rembrandt self-portrait worth an estimated $20,000 to $30,000. Ryan said she would step down effective July 3.

The fact that the prints surfaced just 80 feet from where they were supposed to have been filed, is "a cloud lifted, a burden off our shoulders," Ryan told The Boston Globe. "Everyone is happy."

The prints were found by library conservation officer Lauren Schott in the Copley Square branch during an exhaustive eight-week search of the stacks. Fourteen employees pored through more than half of the 320,000 items located there.

"I was shocked to find the two prints, but it really was just luck of the draw," Schott said in a statement quoted by the Globe. "Any one of the team that's been looking for the Dürer and Rembrandt could have found them."

Melina Schuler, a library spokeswoman, was quoted by the Globe as brushing dismissing the suggestion that someone might have taken the prints and then returned them. She said they were believed to have been misfiled about a year ago in a simple case of "human error."

Even so, Boston Police Commissioner William Evens says the investigation will continue, insisting that "The investigation is not over."

As for Ryan? "It was my decision to resign ... and it's still in place," she said, according to The Boston Herald. "I'm just so happy that the prints have been located."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.