Art Theft: The Many Interesting and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an complicated and ancient criminal activity. When you take a look at the a few of the most famous 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 check out some of the most popular cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The first recorded case of art theft was in 1473, when 2 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 revealed at the National Museum in Gdansk where it was just recently moved from the Basilica of the Presumption.

One Of The Most Famous Theft:
The most well-known story of art theft includes among the most well-known paintings in the world and among the most well-known artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken from the Louver. Quickly after, Pablo Picasso was apprehended and questioned by the authorities, however was launched quickly.

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 merely carried it concealed under his coat. The criminal offense was carefully carried out by a notorious con male, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who planned to make copies and sell them as if they were the initial painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was hectic developing copies for the well-known work of art, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias apartment. Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the cops while trying to sell the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy.

The Biggest Theft in the USA:
The biggest art theft in United States happened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves wearing police uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective value 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, along with a French and a Chinese artifact.

As of yet, none of the paintings have been found and the case is still unsolved. According to recent rumors, the FBI are investigating https://www.pinterest.com/kurtcriter/ the possibility that the Boston Mob together with French art dealerships are connected to the criminal activity.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most searched for painting by art burglars in history. It has been taken twice and was only just recently recuperated. In 1994, during the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was taken from an Oslo gallery by 2 burglars who broke through an open window, set off the alarm and left a note saying: thanks for the bad 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 Government refused the deal, however the Norwegian authorities worked together with the British Police and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum officials waiting for the thieves to demand ransom money, rumors declared that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian authorities found the two paintings on August 31, 2006 but the realities on how they were recovered are not known.


When you look at the some of the most famous cases of art thefts in history, you see completely prepared 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 popular paintings in the world and one of the most popular artists in history as a suspect. The criminal offense was thoroughly conducted by a well-known con guy, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who planned to make copies and offer them as if they were the original painting.

Ultimately, Peruggia was captured 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 sought after painting by art burglars in history.

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