Art Theft: The Many Fascinating and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complex criminal activity. When you take a look at the some of the most well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see completely prepared operations that involve art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can read about a few of the most well-known 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 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 popular story of art theft includes among the most well-known paintings worldwide and one of the most famous artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken from the Louver. Right after, Pablo Picasso was apprehended and questioned by the police, however was launched quickly.

It took about two years until the secret was resolved by the Parisian authorities. It ended up that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by among the museum employees by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who merely carried it concealed under his coat. Peruggia did not work alone. The crime was thoroughly conducted by a well-known con man, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who intended to make copies and sell them as if they were the initial painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was hectic developing copies for the well-known work of art, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias house. Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the authorities while trying to offer the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy.

The Greatest Theft in the U.S.A:
The biggest art theft in United States happened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of burglars wearing cops 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, along with a French and a Chinese artifact.

As of yet, none of the paintings have actually been found and the case is still unsolved. According to current reports, the FBI are examining the possibility https://www.pinterest.com/kurtcriter/ that the Boston Mob along with French art dealers are linked to the crime.

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

3 months later on, 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 declined the deal, however the Norwegian police worked together with the British Police and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that revived the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum officials waiting for the thieves to request ransom money, reports declared that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian cops discovered the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 but the facts 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 completely planned operations that include art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most well-known story of art theft includes one of the most famous paintings in the world and one of the most popular artists in history as a suspect. The criminal activity was carefully performed by a notorious con guy, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who meant to make copies and offer them as if they were the initial painting.

Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the authorities while trying to sell the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most looked for after painting by art thieves in history.

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