Art Theft: The Many Interesting and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complex criminal offense. When you take a look at the some of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that include art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. Here you can read about some 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 two panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment by the Dutch painter Hans Memling were stolen. While the triptych was being carried 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 recently moved from the Basilica of the Assumption.

The Most Famous Theft:
The most famous story of art theft includes one of the most popular paintings on the planet and one of the most popular 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 arrested and questioned by the police, but was released quickly.

It turned out that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum employees by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who merely brought it hidden under his coat. The criminal activity was carefully carried out 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 developing copies for the popular work of art, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias apartment. Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the authorities while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy.

The Greatest 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 burglars wearing authorities uniforms burglarized the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative value was estimated at around 300 million dollars. The thieves took 2 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 been found and the case is still unsolved. Inning accordance with current rumors, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob along with French art dealerships are linked to the criminal offense.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most searched for painting by art thieves in history. It has been taken twice and was only just recently recuperated. In https://www.yelp.com/biz/kurt-criter-denver-2 1994, throughout the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was taken from an Oslo gallery by 2 burglars who broke through an open window, triggered the alarm and left a note saying: thanks for the poor security.

3 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 Federal government rejected the deal, however the Norwegian police teamed up with the British Cops and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that restored the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum officials waiting for the thieves to demand ransom money, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian authorities found 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 famous cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared operations that include art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most well-known story of art theft involves one of the most famous 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 guy, 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.

Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the authorities while trying to offer the painting to an art dealer 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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