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



Art theft is an complicated and ancient criminal activity. When you look at the some of the most famous cases of art thefts in history, you see completely prepared operations that include art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can read about a few of the most well-known cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The 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 transported 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 Presumption.

The Most Famous Theft:
The most well-known story of art theft includes one of the most well-known paintings worldwide and among 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 arrested and questioned by the authorities, however was launched rapidly.

It took about 2 years until the mystery was resolved by the Parisian cops. It ended up that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum workers by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who simply brought it hidden under his coat. Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal offense was thoroughly conducted by a well-known con man, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who intended to make copies and offer them as if they were the initial painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy creating copies for the famous work of art, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias home. After two years where Peruggia did not speak with Chaudron, he aimed to make the best out of his taken great. Eventually, Peruggia was captured by the police while attempting 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 happened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of thieves using police uniforms burglarized the museum and took thirteen paintings whose collective 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 current rumors, the FBI are examining the possibility that the Boston Mob along with French art dealerships are linked to the criminal activity.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most searched for painting by art burglars in history. It has been stolen twice and was just recently recovered. In 1994, during the Winter 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 saying: thanks for the poor security.

3 months later on, the holders https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNxmDR0Lf7eKav0Z4XkSZcWl9N4D2c9qa of the painting approached the Norwegian Government with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Government declined the offer, however the Norwegian police worked together with the British Cops and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that restored the painting to where it belongs.

10 years later, The Scream was stolen again from the Munch Museum. This time, the burglars used a gun and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum authorities waiting on the thieves to request ransom cash, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian cops found the two paintings on August 31, 2006 but the realities on how they were recovered are unknowned yet.


When you look at the some of the most well-known 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 well-known 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 conducted by a well-known con man, 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.

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

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