International Lecture Series

Join us for the 43rd season of the Treasure Coast’s most celebrated arts and humanities lecture series. This lecture series is presented in conjunction with the exhibition French Moderns: Monet to Matisse, 1850-1950. The featured speakers will provide audiences with multiple perspectives to help frame the exhibition’s themes.

Patrons are invited to attend the lectures at the VBMA or stream them from the comfort of their homes​.

Members-Only Advance Series *Available until August 31, 2024*
Includes all four lectures in Holmes Great Hall 
 $300 per person for VBMA Members

Register for Members-Only Advance Series

To register for any program, use the links provided, or call us at 772.231.0707 x 116.

By entering the Museum, you consent to be photographed and filmed for promotional purposes.

All programs are subject to change.

2025 ILS Speakers

Monday, January 27, 2025 at 4:30pm | Art Heists: Stealing Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Degas
Anthony Amore, Director of Security and Chief Investigator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Few people know the reality of art theft. While popular media depicts art theft as the work of clever culprits and cat burglars, this is far from reality. The truth is far more interesting. Anthony Amore is an art theft expert, investigator, and security practitioner. Presently, he is Director of Security and Chief Investigator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, where he is charged with the ongoing efforts to recover thirteen works of art stolen from the museum on March 18, 1990. His lecture will include the three most important heists in history, including the Gardner Museum heist—the biggest in history—in which works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Degas were stolen. Amore will also describe who steals high-value art, why they do it, and what becomes of it.

Anthony Amore was instrumental in the efforts of the then newly formed Transportation Security Administration post-September 11th at Logan International Airport and was the FAA’s ‘lead security agent responding to the attempted terrorist attack by Richard Reid, the so-called “Shoe Bomber” in December 2001. While with the Department of Homeland Security/TSA, he was nominated by his superiors for a Service to America Medal in 2002 and 2003. In 2011, he co-authored the Wall Street Journal true-crime bestseller Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists. His second book, The Art of the Con: The Most Notorious Fakes, Frauds and Forgeries in the Art World was published in 2015 and was a New York Times Crime Bestseller.  In November 2020, his third book, The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Heist was published by Pegasus in the US, UK, and Ireland.

Monday, February 24, 2025 at 4:30pm | 1976 Paris Wine Tasting: How “the Unthinkable Happened”
Andrea Robinson, Master Sommelier

In this lecture, Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson delves into the pivotal 1976 Paris Wine Tasting, or Judgement of Paris as it has become known. During this blind tasting to celebrate the American Bicentennial, some of the finest judges in France selected California wines over French wines in both the red and white categories for the first time ever. This was a major feat for overall quality and collaboration in the global wine world that reshaped the wine industry and dispelled the myth that only fine wines came from France. In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of this landmark achievement for California wine-makers, Robinson will reveal the exciting and rich history of this event and show how American grit and swagger inspired collaboration within the global community of great and historic wineries.

Andrea Robinson is a leading wine educator and one of only 26 women in the world to hold the title of Master Sommelier—the first woman designated as Best Sommelier in the United States. Andrea has written four top-selling wine and food books, including Everyday Dining with Wine, which won the prestigious IACP cookbook award. She has also won three James Beard awards and Bon Appétit magazine’s Wine and Spirits Professional of The Year in 2004. She has hosted more than 100 episodes of her own ground-breaking television series for Scripps Networks, including the Food Network’s Quench as well as Simply Wine and Pairings with Andrea on Fine Living network. She was featured on Working Mother magazine’s cover as a Working Mother of the Year, and she has been profiled in People, Glamour, Elle, NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Today show, CBS This Morning, The New York Times, Food & Wine magazine, and numerous others.

Monday, March 10, 2025 at 4:30pm | The Art of Rivalry: How A New, More Intimate Model of Rivalry Gave Birth to Modern Art
Sebastian Smee, Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic at The Washington Post and author

Common sense suggests that rivalry is one of the great motors of artistic innovation. But it is also one of the deeper mysteries. Just as almost every artist of note has been drawn into some form of rivalry with his or her contemporaries, every rivalry has a deeply private dimension. Telescoping in on these personal dynamics, Sebastian Smee will talk about the ways in which betrayal can serve as an engine of creative innovation. He will demonstrate how willfully breaking away from one’s friend, or rival, can be a spur to innovation, even a necessary step in finding one’s own voice. Something is always lost in the process, though. The artists Smee will talk about – including Matisse and Picasso and Manet and Degas – can often be seen looking back, years after the fact, with degrees of yearning, sorrow, or regret.

Sebastian Smee is an art critic for the Washington Post and the author of Paris in Ruins: Love, War and the Birth of Impressionism. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2011 while at the Boston Globe and teaches non-fiction writing at Wellesley College. He has written The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art as well as five books on Lucian Freud and one on Mark Bradford.

Monday, April 7, 2025 at 4:30pm | The Art of Bread
Apollonia Poilâne, Baker, CEO, and Gallerist

In the heart of Paris’s Saint Germain des Prés, a neighborhood renowned for its artistic and artisanal heritage, stands Poilâne, a bakery with a lineage stretching three generations. Established amidst a community of artists and craftsmen, Poilâne has not only offered sustenance but has also fostered collaborations across generations of painters, sculptors, photographers, and visual artists. Steward of the iconic Poilâne bakery’s heritage, Apollonia Poilâne will explore the bakery’s enduring legacy, illustrating how Poilâne has shaped the intersection of gastronomy and art, and underscored the cultural and historical importance of bread in society.

Apollonia Poilâne, raised in the unique world of her family’s renowned Parisian bakery, became the precocious steward of Poilâne after her parents’ tragic passing. At 18, while navigating Harvard’s academic demands, she assumed leadership, weaving her “contemporary by tradition” philosophy into Poilâne’s fabric. Her leadership has expanded Poilâne’s global presence while maintaining its role as a cultural and culinary icon, collaborating with artists and feeding both Parisians and a worldwide audience with its signature sourdough.

As an author and respected voice in the culinary world, Apollonia’s works and insights on bread’s cultural significance have been celebrated globally, reflecting her dedication to the craft and influence on contemporary gastronomy.  Beyond her bakery’s walls, Apollonia is also a gallerist, a further testament to her multifaceted engagement with both the culinary and fine arts communities. Apollonia’s vision has not only preserved her family’s patrimony but also redefined it, ensuring Poilâne remains a testament to the art of breadmaking.

2024 ILS Speakers

Sarah Parcak, Space Archaeologist
Indiana Jones in Space

Robert Wittman, Former Senior Investigator and Founder of the FBI’s National Art Crime Team
Art Crime and the FBI: How Masterpieces are Stolen and Recovered

Countess of Carnarvon, The Eighth Countess of Carnarvon
The Earl and the Pharaoh: The Discovery of Tutankhamun

Bernard Fishman, Director of the Maine State Museum
Journey Up the Nile: The Victorian Grand Tour of Egypt in 3D