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



Art theft is an complex and ancient criminal activity. When you take a look at the a few of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared operations that involve art dealers, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can check out some 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 two panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment by the Dutch painter Hans Memling were taken. While the triptych was being carried 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 well-known story of art theft involves among the most famous paintings in the world and one of the most well-known 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 cops, however was launched rapidly.

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 brought it hidden under his coat. The criminal offense was thoroughly carried out by a notorious con guy, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who planned to make copies and offer them as if they were the original painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy developing copies for the famous work of art, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias apartment or condo. After 2 years where Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he aimed to make the very best out of his stolen great. Ultimately, Peruggia was captured by the cops while aiming to offer the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louver in 1913.

The Greatest Theft in the U.S.A:
The greatest art theft in United States took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves using cops uniforms burglarized the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective value 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 Kurt Criter Denver artifact.

As of yet, none of the paintings have been found and the case is still unsolved. According to recent rumors, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob together with French art dealerships are connected to the criminal offense.

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 stolen two times and was only just recently recovered. In 1994, during the Winter Season Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was taken from an Oslo gallery by 2 burglars who broke through an open window, triggered 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 Government refused the deal, however the Norwegian cops collaborated with the British Authorities and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that restored the painting to where it belongs.

Ten years later, The Scream was stolen once again from the Munch Museum. This time, the burglars used a weapon and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum authorities waiting on the burglars to demand ransom money, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal proof. Ultimately, the Norwegian cops found the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 but the facts on how they were recovered are not understood.


When you look at the some of the most famous cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared 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 famous artists in history as a suspect. The criminal offense was carefully conducted by a well-known 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 initial painting.

Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the authorities while trying to sell the painting to an art dealership 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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