Art Theft: The Many Fascinating and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an ancient and complex crime. When you take a look at the a few of the most famous 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 check out some of the most popular cases of art theft in the history.

The First Theft:
The very first documented case of art theft was in 1473, when 2 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 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 Assumption.

The Most Famous Theft:
The most well-known story of art theft includes among the most popular paintings worldwide and among the most popular artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken out of the Louver. Not long after, Pablo Picasso was detained and questioned by the cops, but was released quickly.

It took about 2 years till the secret was solved by the Parisian police. 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 carried it concealed under his coat. Nevertheless, Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal offense was thoroughly conducted by a notorious bilker, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who intended to make copies and offer them as if they were the original painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was hectic developing copies for the well-known masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias apartment. After 2 years where Peruggia did not speak with Chaudron, he attempted to make the finest from his stolen excellent. Ultimately, Peruggia was captured by the authorities while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louver in 1913.

The Biggest Theft in the USA:
The most significant art theft in United States happened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of https://medium.com/@kurtcriter 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, as well as a French and a Chinese artifact.

Since yet, none of the paintings have been found and the case is still unsolved. Inning accordance with recent reports, the FBI are investigating the possibility that the Boston Mob along with French art dealerships are linked to the criminal offense.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most looked for after painting by art thieves in history. It has been taken two times and was only recently recovered. In 1994, throughout the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was taken from an Oslo gallery by 2 thieves who broke through an open window, triggered the alarm and left a note stating: 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 denied the deal, but the Norwegian cops collaborated with the British Cops and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.

Ten years later, The Scream was taken once again from the Munch Museum. This time, the burglars used a weapon and took another of Munchs painting with them. While Museum Kurt Criter Denver authorities awaiting the thieves to request ransom loan, reports claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal proof. Eventually, the Norwegian cops found 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 well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations that include 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 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 original painting.

Ultimately, Peruggia was captured by the cops while attempting to sell 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 thieves in history.

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