Art Theft: The Many Interesting 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 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 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 transported 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 popular story of art theft includes among the most popular paintings in the world and one of the most famous artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen out of the Louver. Right after, Pablo Picasso was apprehended and questioned by the authorities, but was released quickly.

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 notorious con male, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out 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 hectic producing copies for the famous work of art, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias apartment. After 2 years in which Peruggia did not speak with Chaudron, he attempted to make the best from his stolen excellent. Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the authorities while aiming to sell the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louver in 1913.

The Biggest Theft in the U.S.A:
The biggest art theft in United States took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of burglars wearing authorities uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative worth was estimated at around 300 million dollars. The thieves took 2 paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, as well as 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 recent reports, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob along with French art dealerships are linked to the crime.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most searched for painting by art burglars in history. It has actually been taken twice and was only recently recovered. 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, set off 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 https://www.quora.com/profile/Kurt-Criter Munchs The Scream. The Government refused the offer, but the Norwegian police worked together with the British Authorities and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that revived the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum authorities waiting for the burglars to request ransom money, reports declared that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian police found the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 but the truths 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 planned operations that involve art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most popular story of art theft includes one of the most well-known paintings in the world and one of the most famous artists in history as a suspect. The criminal offense was thoroughly performed by a notorious con man, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who intended to make copies and offer them as if they were the original painting.

Ultimately, Peruggia was caught 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 https://medium.com/@kurtcriter burglars in history.

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