Art Theft: The Most Interesting and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an complex and ancient criminal activity. When you look at the some of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared operations that include art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. Here you can check out some of the most famous cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The first documented case of art theft was in 1473, when two panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment by the Dutch painter Hans Memling were stolen. While the triptych was being transported 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.

One Of The Most Famous Theft:
The most famous story of art theft includes among the most well-known 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 out of the Louver. Soon after, Pablo Picasso was apprehended and questioned by the authorities, but was launched rapidly.

It took about two years until the mystery was fixed by the Parisian police. It ended up that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by among the museum staff members by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who just carried it hidden under his coat. Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal activity was thoroughly performed by a well-known bilker, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who meant to make copies and sell them as if they were the initial painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy creating copies for the popular work of art, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias apartment. Ultimately, Peruggia was captured by the police while trying to offer the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy.

The Biggest Theft in the USA:
The greatest art theft in United States took location at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves wearing authorities uniforms burglarized the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative value was estimated at around 300 million dollars. The thieves took two paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, in addition to a French and a Chinese artifact.

Since yet, none of the paintings have actually been found and the case is still unsolved. According to recent rumors, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob in addition to French art dealerships are linked to the crime.

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

3 months later, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Government with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Government denied the offer, however the Norwegian authorities worked together with the British Authorities and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that revived the painting to where it belongs.

https://foursquare.com/v/kurt-criter/59ae10555161136b77113e4f 10 years later, The Scream was stolen again from the Munch Museum. This time, the robbers utilized a gun and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum authorities waiting on the thieves to request ransom money, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to hide evidence. Ultimately, the Norwegian police found the two paintings on August 31, 2006 however the truths on how they were recovered are not known yet.


When you look at the some of the most well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that include art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most famous story of art theft involves one of the most well-known paintings in the world and one of the most popular artists in history as a suspect. The crime was carefully conducted by a notorious con man, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent 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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