Art Theft: The Most Interesting and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complex criminal offense. When you look at the a few of the most famous cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that involve art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. Here you can check out a few of the most popular cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The very first documented case of art theft was in 1473, when 2 panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment by the Dutch painter Hans Memling were stolen. While the triptych was being transferred by ship from the Netherlands to Florence, the ship was attacked by pirates who took it to the Gdansk cathedral in Poland. Nowadays, the piece is shown at the National Museum in Gdansk where it was just recently moved from the Basilica of the Presumption.

The Many Famous Theft:
The most famous story of art theft involves among the most famous paintings worldwide and one of the most well-known artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken from the Louver. Not long after, Pablo Picasso was arrested and questioned by the cops, however was released rapidly.

It took about 2 years until the mystery was solved by the Parisian cops. It ended up that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum employees by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who simply brought it hidden under his coat. Nevertheless, Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal activity was thoroughly conducted by a notorious con guy, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who meant to make copies and sell them as if they were the original painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was hectic producing copies for the famous work of art, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias apartment. After two years in which Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he tried to make the best from his taken great. Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the cops while trying to sell the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louver in 1913.

The Biggest Theft in the U.S.A:
The greatest art theft in United States occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves wearing authorities uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective worth was approximated at around 300 million dollars. The thieves took two paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, as well as a French and a Chinese artifact.

Since yet, none of the paintings have been found and the case is still unsolved. According to current reports, the FBI are investigating the possibility that the Boston Mob together with French art dealerships are connected to the criminal offense.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most searched for painting by art burglars in history. It has actually been taken twice and was only recently recovered. In 1994, during the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was taken from an Oslo gallery by two thieves who broke through an open window, triggered the alarm and left a note stating: thanks for the poor security.

3 months later, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Federal government with an deal: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Federal government rejected the offer, but the Norwegian cops worked https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNxmDR0Lf7eKav0Z4XkSZcWl9N4D2c9qa together with the British Authorities and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that revived the painting to where it belongs.

10 years later on, The Scream was taken again from the Munch Museum. This time, the burglars utilized a weapon and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum authorities waiting for the burglars to demand ransom cash, reports declared that both paintings were burned to hide proof. Ultimately, the Norwegian authorities discovered the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 but the truths on how they were recovered are not understood.


When you look at the some of the most famous cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared operations that involve art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most popular story of art theft includes one of the most famous paintings in the world and one of the most well-known artists in history as a suspect. The criminal offense was thoroughly performed by a well-known con man, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who meant to make copies and offer them as if they were the original painting.

Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the police while trying to offer the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy. The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most sought after painting by art thieves in history.

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