Art Theft: The Many Interesting and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an complex and ancient criminal offense. When you take a look at the a few of the most famous cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that include art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can check out a few of the most famous cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The 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 carried 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 popular story of art theft involves among the most well-known paintings in the world and among the most famous artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louver. Not long after, Pablo Picasso was detained and questioned by the police, however was launched rapidly.

It took about two years till the mystery was resolved 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 concealed under his coat. Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal activity was thoroughly conducted by a well-known bilker, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who meant to make copies and offer them as if they were the initial painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy creating copies for the popular masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias apartment or condo. 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 USA:
The most significant art theft in United States occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of burglars using police uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective worth was approximated at around 300 million dollars. The burglars took two paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of https://www.quora.com/profile/Kurt-Criter Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, along with a French and a Chinese artifact.

As of yet, none of the paintings have actually been found and the case is still unsolved. According to current reports, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob together with French art dealers are linked to the criminal activity.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most sought after painting by art burglars in history. It has actually been stolen twice and was just recently recuperated. In 1994, throughout the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was stolen from an Oslo gallery by 2 burglars who broke through an open window, triggered the alarm and left a note saying: thanks for the poor security.

Three months later on, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Government with an deal: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Government declined the offer, however the Norwegian authorities collaborated with the British Police and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that revived the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum officials waiting for the thieves to demand ransom cash, reports claimed that both paintings were burned to hide proof. Eventually, the Norwegian authorities discovered the two 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 well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see completely planned operations that include 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 crime was carefully carried out 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 original painting.

Ultimately, Peruggia was captured by the cops 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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