Art Theft: The Many Fascinating and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complicated criminal activity. 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 countless dollars. Here you can read about 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 transferred by ship from the Netherlands to Florence, the ship was assaulted 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 recently moved from the Basilica of the Assumption.

The Most Famous Theft:
The most famous story of art theft involves among the most popular 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 stolen out of the Louver. Quickly after, Pablo Picasso was jailed and questioned by the police, but was launched rapidly.

It turned out that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum workers by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who simply brought it concealed under his coat. The criminal offense was carefully carried out by a infamous con male, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who planned to make copies and offer them as if they were the original painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was hectic producing copies for the well-known masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias apartment or condo. After two years where Peruggia did not speak with Chaudron, he aimed to make the finest out of his stolen great. Ultimately, Peruggia was captured by the police while attempting to sell the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was gone back to the Louver in 1913.

The Greatest Theft in the U.S.A:
The most significant art theft in United States happened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner https://soundcloud.com/kurt-criter Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves using authorities uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative worth was approximated at around 300 million dollars. The burglars 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 actually been found and the case is still unsolved. According to current reports, the FBI are investigating the possibility that the Boston Mob in addition to French art dealers are linked to the crime.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most sought after painting by art burglars in history. It has actually been taken twice and was only recently recuperated. In 1994, during the Winter Season Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was taken from an Oslo gallery by 2 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 Government with an deal: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Government turned down the offer, however the Norwegian police teamed up with the British Police and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.

10 years later, The Scream was taken again from the Munch Museum. This time, the burglars used a gun and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum officials awaiting the burglars to demand ransom cash, reports claimed that both paintings were burned to hide proof. Eventually, the Norwegian authorities found the two paintings on August 31, 2006 but the facts on how they were recovered are not known yet.


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

Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the cops while attempting to sell the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy. The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most sought after painting by art burglars in history.

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