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



Art theft is an complex and ancient criminal activity. When you take a look at the a few of the most well-known cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly prepared operations that include art dealers, 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 recorded 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 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 recently moved from the Basilica of the Presumption.

One Of The Most Famous Theft:
The most popular story of art theft involves one of the most popular paintings on the planet and among the most popular artists in history as a suspect. In the night of August 21, 1911, the Mona Lisa was taken from the Louver. Not long after, Pablo Picasso was detained and questioned by the cops, however was launched quickly.

It turned out that the 30 × 21 inch painting was taken by one of the museum workers by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who simply brought it concealed under his coat. The criminal offense was thoroughly performed by a notorious con man, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was sent by an art faker who intended to make copies and sell them as if they were the original painting.

While Yves Chaudron, the art faker, was busy producing copies for the famous masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden at Peruggias apartment. Eventually, Peruggia was caught by the cops while attempting to offer the painting to an art dealership from Florence, Italy.

The Most significant Theft in the USA:
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 approximated 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.

As of yet, none of the paintings have actually 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 connected to the criminal activity.

The Scream:
The painting by Edvard Munchs, The Scream, is probably the most demanded painting by art burglars in history. It has been taken two times and was only just recently recuperated. In 1994, during the Winter Season Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was stolen from an Oslo gallery by two burglars who broke through an open window, triggered the alarm and left a note saying: thanks for the poor security.

3 months later on, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Federal government with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munchs https://www.quora.com/profile/Kurt-Criter The Scream. The Government declined the offer, but the Norwegian police teamed up with the British Cops and the Getty Museum to organize a sting operation that brought back the painting to where it belongs.

While Museum officials waiting for the burglars to demand ransom cash, rumors claimed that both paintings were burned to conceal proof. Ultimately, the Norwegian authorities discovered the two paintings on August 31, 2006 however the truths 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 completely prepared operations that involve art dealerships, art fakers, mobsters, ransoms, and millions of dollars. The most well-known 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. The crime was carefully performed by a notorious 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.

Ultimately, Peruggia was captured 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 looked for after painting by art thieves in history.

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