Art Theft: One Of The Most Interesting and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an complex and ancient criminal activity. When you look at the some of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see completely planned operations that involve art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can read about a few of the most well-known cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The very 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 transferred 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 famous story of art theft includes one of the most famous paintings worldwide and among the most popular artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken out of the Louver. Not long after, Pablo Picasso was apprehended and questioned by the authorities, but was released quickly.

It took about 2 years up until the secret was resolved by the Parisian police. 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 simply carried it hidden under his coat. Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal offense was carefully carried out by a well-known bilker, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who intended to make copies and sell them as if they were the initial painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy producing copies for the famous masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias home. After two years where Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he attempted to make the finest from his stolen excellent. Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the authorities while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louver in 1913.

The Biggest Theft in the U.S.A:
The greatest art theft in United States occurred 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 approximated at around 300 million dollars. The thieves 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 actually been discovered and the case is still unsolved. According to current rumors, the FBI are Kurt Criter investigating the possibility that the Boston Mob along with French art dealers are linked to the criminal activity.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most searched for painting by art thieves in history. It has actually been taken twice and was only just recently recovered. In 1994, throughout the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was stolen 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 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 teamed up with the British Police and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that revived the painting to where it belongs.

10 years later, The Scream was taken once again from the Munch Museum. This time, the robbers used a gun and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum officials awaiting the burglars to request ransom money, rumors declared that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Ultimately, the Norwegian cops found the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 however 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 popular story of art theft involves one of the most well-known paintings in the world and one of the most famous artists in history as a suspect. The criminal activity was carefully performed by a notorious con guy, Eduardo de Valfierno, who https://www.pinterest.com/kurtcriter/ was sent by an art faker who meant to make copies and offer them as if they were the original painting.

Ultimately, Peruggia was captured by the authorities while attempting 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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