Art Theft: The Most 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 well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see completely prepared operations that include art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can read about a few of the most famous cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The very first recorded case of art theft was in 1473, when two panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment by the Dutch painter Hans Memling were taken. While the triptych was being transported 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 Most Famous Theft:
The most well-known story of art theft involves one of the most popular paintings on the planet and among the most well-known artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louver. Right after, Pablo Picasso was detained and questioned by the authorities, but was released rapidly.

It took about two years until the mystery was fixed by the Parisian cops. It turned out that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by among the museum employees by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who just brought it hidden under his coat. Nonetheless, Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal offense was thoroughly carried out by a infamous 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 initial painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy creating copies for the famous masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias house. Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the cops while attempting to sell the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy.

The Biggest Theft in the USA:
The greatest art theft in United States occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of burglars using cops uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective 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 found and the case is still unsolved. Inning accordance with 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 demanded painting by art burglars in history. It has actually been taken two times and was just just recently recovered. In 1994, during the Winter Season Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was taken from an Oslo gallery by 2 thieves who broke through an open window, set off the alarm and left a note saying: thanks for the poor security.

Three months later, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Federal government with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The https://www.quora.com/profile/Kurt-Criter Government refused the deal, but the Norwegian police collaborated with the British Police and the Getty https://www.yelp.com/biz/kurt-criter-denver-2 Museum to organize a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.

10 years later, The Scream was taken once again from the Munch Museum. This time, the robbers used a weapon and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum authorities awaiting the thieves to demand ransom cash, reports claimed that both paintings were burned to hide evidence. Ultimately, the Norwegian authorities discovered the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 but the realities on how they were recuperated are not understood yet.


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 popular story of art theft involves one of the most well-known 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 male, 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.

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 sought after painting by art thieves in history.

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