Art Theft: The Most 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 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. Here you can check out about a few 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 taken. 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.

One Of The Most Famous Theft:
The most well-known story of art theft includes among the most popular paintings in the world and among the most popular 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 jailed and questioned by the police, however was launched rapidly.

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 brought it concealed under his coat. The criminal offense was carefully 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.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was hectic producing copies for the popular masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias house. Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the authorities while attempting to sell the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy.

The Biggest 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 thieves using cops uniforms Kurt Criter got into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative worth was estimated at around 300 million dollars. The burglars took 2 paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, https://foursquare.com/v/kurt-criter/59ae10555161136b77113e4f in addition to a French and a Chinese artifact.

Since yet, none of the paintings have actually been found and the case is still unsolved. Inning accordance with recent rumors, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob in addition to French art dealers are connected to the criminal activity.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most demanded painting by art thieves in history. It has actually been taken two times and was only recently recuperated. In 1994, throughout the Winter Season Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was stolen from an Oslo gallery by two thieves who broke through an open window, triggered the alarm and left a note stating: thanks for the bad 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 rejected the deal, however the Norwegian police collaborated with the British Police and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that restored the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum officials waiting for the thieves to demand ransom cash, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to hide proof. Eventually, the Norwegian police found the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 but the facts on how they were recuperated are not understood.


When you look at the some of the most well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared operations that involve art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most popular story of art theft includes 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 carefully conducted by a infamous con guy, 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.

Eventually, 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 thieves in history.

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