Art Theft: The Many Interesting and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complex criminal offense. 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. Here you can read about 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 taken. 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 shown at the National Museum in Gdansk where it was recently moved from the Basilica of the Assumption.

The Most Famous Theft:
The most well-known story of art theft involves one of the most popular paintings worldwide 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. Right after, Pablo Picasso was arrested and questioned by the authorities, however was released rapidly.

It took about two years until the secret was fixed by the Parisian police. 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 hidden under his coat. Peruggia did not work alone. The crime was carefully conducted by a notorious con guy, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who planned to make copies and sell them as if they were the original painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy creating copies for the famous masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias home. Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the police while trying to offer the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy.

The Greatest Theft in the U.S.A:
The biggest art theft in United States happened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of burglars using cops uniforms burglarized the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective value was estimated at around 300 million dollars. The burglars took two paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, as well as a French and a Chinese artifact.

Since yet, none of the paintings have been found and the case is still unsolved. Inning accordance with current rumors, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob in addition to French art dealers are linked to the crime.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most demanded painting by art thieves in history. It has actually been taken twice and was just recently recovered. In 1994, throughout the Winter Season https://www.yelp.com/biz/kurt-criter-denver-2 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was taken 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 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 rejected the offer, however the Norwegian police teamed up with the British Police and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.

10 years later on, The Scream https://soundcloud.com/kurt-criter was taken once again from the Munch Museum. This time, the burglars used a gun and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum officials waiting for the burglars to demand ransom loan, reports claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal proof. Eventually, the Norwegian authorities found the two paintings on August 31, 2006 but the realities on how they were recuperated are unknowned yet.


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 famous story of art theft involves one of the most well-known paintings in the world and one of the most well-known artists in history as a suspect. The criminal activity was thoroughly conducted by a notorious con man, 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.

Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the cops while trying to sell the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy. The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most sought after painting by art burglars in history.

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