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



Art theft is an complicated and ancient crime. When you look at the some of the most well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see completely planned 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 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 stolen. 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 revealed at the National Museum in Gdansk where it was recently moved from the Basilica of the Presumption.

The Many Famous Theft:
The most well-known story of art theft involves one of the most popular paintings in the world and one of the most popular artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken from the Louver. Quickly after, Pablo Picasso was apprehended and questioned by the cops, however was released rapidly.

It took about 2 years till the secret was solved by the Parisian authorities. 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 merely carried it hidden under his coat. Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal activity was carefully carried out by a infamous con male, 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 creating copies for the popular masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still concealed at Peruggias house. After 2 years where Peruggia did not hear from Chaudron, he attempted to make the finest out of his stolen excellent. Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the police while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was gone back 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 police uniforms broke into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative 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, along with 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 dealerships are linked to the criminal offense.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most sought after painting by art burglars in history. It has been stolen twice and was just just recently recovered. In 1994, during the Winter 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 bad security.

3 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 deal, however the Norwegian police worked together with the British Authorities and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that restored the painting https://foursquare.com/v/kurt-criter/59ae10555161136b77113e4f to where it belongs.

While Museum officials waiting for the burglars to demand ransom loan, reports claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Ultimately, the Norwegian cops found the two paintings on August 31, 2006 however the facts on how they were recuperated are not known.


When you look at the some of the most well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see completely prepared 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 famous paintings in the world and one of the most well-known artists in history as a suspect. The criminal offense was carefully conducted by a notorious con male, 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.

Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the authorities while attempting to sell the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most looked for after painting by art burglars in history.

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