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



Art theft is an ancient and complex criminal offense. When you take a look at the a few of the most popular cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that include art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can check out a few of the most popular cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The very first recorded case of art theft remained 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 assaulted 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.

The Many Famous Theft:
The most popular story of art theft involves one of the most popular 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 taken from the Louver. Right after, Pablo Picasso was jailed and questioned by the authorities, however was released rapidly.

It took about 2 years until the secret was solved by the Parisian police. It turned out that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by among the museum workers by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who simply brought it concealed under his coat. Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal activity was carefully performed by a notorious bilker, 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 hectic developing copies for the popular masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias home. Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the authorities while trying to sell the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy.

The Greatest Theft in the USA:
The greatest art theft in United States occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves using cops uniforms got into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective 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, in addition to a French and a Chinese artifact.

Since yet, none of the paintings have been discovered and the case is still unsolved. According to current rumors, the FBI are investigating the possibility that the Boston Mob in addition to French art dealerships are connected to the criminal activity.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most sought after painting by art thieves in history. It has been stolen twice and was only just 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 Government with an deal: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Federal government declined the offer, but the Norwegian cops collaborated with the British Authorities and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that revived the painting to where it belongs.

10 years later, The Scream was taken once again from https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNxmDR0Lf7eKav0Z4XkSZcWl9N4D2c9qa the Munch Museum. This time, the robbers used a weapon and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum authorities waiting on the thieves to request ransom loan, reports claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal proof. Ultimately, the Norwegian police found the two paintings on August 31, 2006 however the truths on how they were recovered are not known 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 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 activity was carefully performed by a notorious con male, 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.

Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the police while attempting 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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