Art Theft: The Most Fascinating and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complicated criminal activity. When you take a look at the some of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared operations that involve art dealers, 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 very 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 taken. 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 just recently moved from the Basilica of the Assumption.

The A Lot Of Famous Theft:
The most famous story of art theft involves among the most famous paintings worldwide and among the most famous artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken from the Louver. Soon after, Pablo Picasso was apprehended and questioned by the cops, however was launched quickly.

It took about 2 years till the secret was solved by the Parisian authorities. It turned out that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum staff members by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who simply carried it concealed under his coat. However, Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal offense was thoroughly performed by a infamous con man, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent 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 busy producing copies for the well-known masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias house. Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the cops while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy.

The Biggest Theft in the U.S.A:
The biggest art theft in United States occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of burglars using authorities uniforms got into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative worth 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 discovered and the case is still unsolved. According to current rumors, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob in addition to French art dealers are connected to the criminal offense.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most demanded painting by art thieves in history. It has been stolen twice and was only recently recovered. In 1994, throughout the Winter Season Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was stolen from an Oslo gallery by 2 burglars who broke through an open window, set off the alarm and left a note stating: thanks for the bad security.

3 months later https://www.pinterest.com/kurtcriter/ on, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Federal government https://myspace.com/kurtcriter with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Federal government turned down the deal, but the Norwegian cops worked together with the British Police and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.

Ten years later, The Scream was stolen again from the Munch Museum. This time, the robbers used a gun and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum authorities waiting on the thieves to request ransom loan, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Ultimately, the Norwegian police found the two paintings on August 31, 2006 however the facts on how they were recovered are unknowned yet.


When you look at the some of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that involve art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most famous story of art theft involves one of the most well-known paintings in the world and one of the most well-known artists in history as a suspect. The criminal offense was thoroughly performed by a well-known con guy, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who intended to make copies and sell them as if they were the original painting.

Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the authorities while attempting 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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