Art Theft: The Most Interesting and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complex crime. When you take a look at the some of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see completely planned operations that involve art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless 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 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 revealed at the National Museum in Gdansk where it was just recently moved from the Basilica of the Presumption.

The Most Famous Theft:
The most well-known story of art theft includes among the most famous paintings in the world and one of the most famous artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken out of the Louver. Right after, Pablo Picasso was detained and questioned by the cops, however was launched quickly.

It took about two years until the secret was fixed by the Parisian authorities. It turned out that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by among the museum staff members by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who merely carried it concealed under his coat. Peruggia did not work alone. The crime was thoroughly carried out by a notorious 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 producing copies for the popular masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias apartment. After 2 years in which Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he tried to make the finest out of his stolen good. Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the cops while trying to sell the painting to an art dealership 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 took place 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 worth was approximated at around 300 million dollars. The thieves took 2 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. Inning accordance with current rumors, the FBI are investigating the possibility that the Boston Mob in addition to French art dealerships are linked to the criminal activity.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most looked for after painting by art thieves in history. It has been taken twice and was just just recently recovered. 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 stating: thanks for the bad security.

Three months later on, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Federal government with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Government refused the deal, but the Norwegian police collaborated with the British Cops and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum authorities waiting for the thieves to demand ransom loan, rumors declared that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian authorities discovered the two paintings on August 31, 2006 but the facts on how they were recuperated are not known.


When you look at the some of the most well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see completely prepared operations that involve art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most well-known 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 performed by a infamous con male, Eduardo de Valfierno, Kurt Criter who was sent out by an art faker who planned to make copies and offer them as if they were the initial painting.

Ultimately, Peruggia was captured by the cops while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy. The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most looked for after painting by art thieves in history.

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