Art Theft: The Many Fascinating 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 completely prepared operations that include art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can check out about some of the most well-known cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The first documented case of art theft remained in 1473, when 2 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 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 recently moved from the Basilica of the Assumption.

The Many Famous Theft:
The most popular story of art theft includes one of the most famous 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 out of the Louver. Right after, Pablo Picasso was jailed and questioned by the cops, but was released quickly.

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 carried it concealed under his coat. The criminal activity was carefully conducted by a infamous con man, 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 busy producing copies for the famous work of art, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias home. After two years in which Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he attempted to make the very best from his stolen good. Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the cops while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louver in 1913.

The Biggest Theft in the USA:
The most significant art theft in United States took location at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of burglars using police uniforms burglarized the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative worth was approximated at around 300 million dollars. The burglars took 2 paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, in addition to https://kurtcriter.wordpress.com/ a French and a Chinese artifact.

As of yet, none of the paintings have been discovered and the case is still unsolved. According to current reports, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob along with French art dealerships are linked to the crime.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most searched for painting by art burglars in history. It has been stolen two times and was just 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, triggered the alarm and left a note stating: 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 Government turned down the offer, however the Norwegian authorities worked together 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 burglars to demand ransom money, reports declared that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian authorities discovered the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 however the truths 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 well-known artists in history as a suspect. The crime was thoroughly conducted by a well-known con man, 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.

Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the cops while trying 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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