Art Theft: The Many Intriguing and Famous Cases in History



Art theft is an complicated and ancient criminal offense. When you look at the a few of the most well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared operations that include art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and countless dollars. Here you can read about some of the most famous 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 stolen. While the triptych was being transferred by ship from the Netherlands to Florence, the ship was attacked 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 popular story of art theft includes one of the most famous paintings in the world and among the most popular artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen out of the Louver. Not long after, Pablo Picasso was detained and questioned by the authorities, but was launched rapidly.

It took about two years until the secret was resolved by the Parisian police. It ended up that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum employees by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who merely carried it concealed under his coat. Nonetheless, Peruggia did not work alone. The criminal offense was carefully performed by a notorious bilker, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent out by an art faker who planned to make copies and sell them as if they were the initial painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was hectic creating copies for the popular work of art, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias apartment or condo. Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the authorities while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy.

The Biggest Theft in the USA:
The most significant art theft in United States occurred at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, a group of burglars wearing police uniforms got into the museum and took thirteen paintings whose cumulative worth was estimated at around 300 million dollars. The burglars took 2 paintings and one print by Rembrandt, and works of Vermeer, Manet, Kurt Criter Denver Degas, Govaert Flinck, in addition to a French and a Chinese artifact.

Since yet, none of the paintings have actually been discovered 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 crime.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is most likely the most searched for painting by art thieves in history. It has actually been stolen two times and was just just recently recovered. In 1994, throughout the Winter Season 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 stating: thanks for the bad security.

Three months later, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Federal government with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs The Scream. The Federal government declined the deal, but the Norwegian authorities teamed up with the British Authorities and the Getty Museum to arrange a sting operation that restored the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum authorities waiting for the burglars to request ransom money, rumors declared that both paintings were burned to conceal proof. Eventually, the Norwegian police discovered the 2 paintings on August 31, 2006 but the realities 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 completely planned 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 well-known paintings in the world and one of the most famous artists in history as a suspect. The crime was carefully performed by a infamous con guy, 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.

Ultimately, Peruggia was caught by the police while trying to sell the painting to an art dealer from Florence, Italy. The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most sought after painting by art thieves in history.

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