Art Theft: The Most Interesting and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complicated criminal activity. 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 dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. Here you can check out some of the most popular cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The very first documented 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 recently moved from the Basilica of the Presumption.

The A Lot Of Famous Theft:
The most famous 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. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken from the Louver. Not long after, Pablo Picasso was apprehended and questioned by the cops, however was launched rapidly.

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 by an art faker who meant to make copies and offer them as if they were the original painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy creating copies for the popular masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias home. After 2 years in which Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he attempted to make the best from his stolen good. Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the police while attempting to sell the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was gone back to the Louver in 1913.

The Greatest Theft in the USA:
The greatest art theft in United States took location at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of burglars wearing authorities uniforms 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, in addition to a French and a Chinese artifact.

As of yet, none of the paintings have been discovered and the case is still unsolved. According to current rumors, 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 Scream, is probably the most Kurt Criter demanded painting by art thieves in history. It has actually been stolen two times and was just recently recuperated. In 1994, during the Winter 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 stating: thanks for the bad security.

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

10 years later on, The Scream was stolen again from the Munch Museum. This time, the robbers utilized a weapon and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum officials waiting on the thieves to demand ransom money, rumors declared that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian authorities discovered the two paintings on August 31, 2006 but the facts on how they were recovered are not known.


When you look at the some of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that include art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most famous 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 offense was carefully conducted by a well-known con male, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who planned to make copies and offer them as if they were the initial 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 looked for after painting by art thieves in history.

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