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



Art theft is an complicated and ancient criminal offense. When you look at the some of the most famous cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared operations that involve art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can check out some of the most popular cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The first recorded 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 attacked 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 recently moved from the Basilica of the Assumption.

One Of The Most Famous Theft:
The most famous story of art theft involves one of the most well-known paintings worldwide and among the most well-known artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen out of the Louver. Not long after, Pablo Picasso was apprehended and questioned by the authorities, however was launched quickly.

It turned out that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum workers by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who just carried it concealed under his coat. The criminal offense was thoroughly carried out by a well-known con guy, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent 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 producing copies for the well-known masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias house. Ultimately, Peruggia was captured by the authorities while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy.

The Greatest Theft in the U.S.A:
The greatest 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 Kurt Criter uniforms burglarized the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative value was approximated at around 300 million dollars. The burglars took two paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, in addition to a French and a Chinese artifact.

Since yet, none of the paintings have been found and the case is still unsolved. According to current rumors, the FBI are 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 probably the most sought after painting by art burglars in history. It has actually been stolen two times and was only just recently recovered. In 1994, during the Winter Season Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was stolen from an Oslo gallery by 2 burglars who broke through an open window, set off the alarm and left a note stating: thanks for the bad security.

3 months later, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Federal government with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Federal government denied the deal, but the Norwegian cops collaborated with the British Cops and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that restored the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum authorities waiting for the thieves to request ransom money, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Ultimately, the Norwegian police discovered the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 however the facts 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 thoroughly planned operations that include art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most famous story of art theft involves one of the most popular paintings in the world and one of the most popular artists in history as a suspect. The crime was thoroughly performed by a well-known con guy, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who intended to make copies and offer 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 probably the most looked for after painting by art thieves in history.

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