Art Theft: The Many Interesting and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complex crime. 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 dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. Here you can read about some of the most famous cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The first documented case of art theft was in 1473, when 2 panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment by the Dutch painter Hans Memling were stolen. 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 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. 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 cops, but 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 brought it hidden under his coat. The criminal activity was thoroughly carried out by a well-known con male, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out 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 creating copies for the famous work of art, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias apartment or condo. After two years in which Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he attempted to make the best from his stolen great. Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the police while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louver in 1913.

The Greatest Theft in the U.S.A:
The biggest art theft in United States happened 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 collective worth was estimated at around 300 million dollars. The burglars took two 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 discovered and the case is still unsolved. According to recent reports, the FBI are examining 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 Kurt Criter Denver Scream, is probably the most searched for painting https://kurtcriter.wordpress.com/ by art burglars in history. It has actually been stolen two times and was just just recently recovered. 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 poor security.

3 months later on, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Federal government with an deal: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Government turned down the offer, but the Norwegian authorities worked together with the British Cops and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that revived the painting to where it belongs.

10 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 officials waiting for the thieves to request ransom money, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian police found the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 however the realities on how they were recuperated are not known.


When you look at the some of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see completely planned operations that involve art dealerships, 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 criminal activity was thoroughly performed 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.

Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the police while attempting to sell the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy. The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most looked for after painting by art burglars in history.

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