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



Art theft is an ancient and complicated criminal offense. When you take a look at the a few of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see completely prepared operations that involve 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 recorded case of art theft was in 1473, when two panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment by the Dutch painter Hans Memling were stolen. 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 revealed at the National Museum in Gdansk where it was recently moved from the Basilica of the Presumption.

One Of The Most Famous Theft:
The most popular story of art theft involves among the most famous paintings worldwide and one of the most popular 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 jailed and questioned by the police, but was released 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 just carried it hidden under his coat. The crime was carefully conducted by a infamous con guy, 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 busy producing copies for the popular work of art, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias apartment or condo. After 2 years in which Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he attempted to make the best out of his taken good. Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the authorities while aiming to sell the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was gone back to the Louver in 1913.

The Most significant Theft in the USA:
The biggest art theft in United States occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves wearing police uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative value was estimated at around 300 million dollars. The thieves 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 recent rumors, the FBI are investigating the possibility that the Boston Mob together with French art dealers are linked to the criminal offense.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most demanded painting by art thieves in history. It has been taken twice and was only recently recuperated. In 1994, throughout the Winter 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 saying: thanks for the poor 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 Federal government declined the deal, however the Norwegian police collaborated with the British Police and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that revived the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum authorities waiting for the thieves to demand ransom money, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to hide evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian cops discovered the two 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 thoroughly planned operations that involve art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most popular story of art theft involves 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 infamous con man, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who meant to make copies and offer them as if they were the initial painting.

Ultimately, Peruggia was captured by the cops while trying 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 Kurt Criter history.

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