Art Theft: famous cases in history
Art theft is an ancient and complicated crime. If you look at the some of the most famous cases of art thefts in history, you see thoroughly planned operations, art dealers, art forgers, gangsters, ransom, and to involve millions of dollars. Here you can read about some of the most famous cases of art theft in history.
The first theft:
The first documented case of art theft was in 1473, when two panels of altarpiece of the Last Judgment were stolen by the Dutch painter Hans Memling. While the triptych was transported by ship from the Netherlands to Florence, the ship from pirates who took it to the Cathedral Gdansk in Poland was attacked. Today the piece in the National Museum in Gdansk where it shown recently moved from the Basilica of the Assumption.
The Most Famous Theft:
The 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. On the night of 21 August 1911 the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre. Soon after, Pablo Picasso was arrested and questioned by police, but was released quickly.
It took about two years until the mystery was solved by the Parisian police. It turned out that the 30 21 inch painting was created by one of the museum employees by the name of Vincenzo Peruggia, who simply carried it hidden under his coat over. Nevertheless, Peruggia did not alone. The crime was carefully conducted by a notorious impostor, Eduardo de Valfierno, who was diagnosed sent from an art forger to make copies and sell them as if they were the original painting.
While Yves Chaudron, the art forger, was busy creating copies for the famous masterpiece, Mona Lisa was still hidden Peruggias apartment. After two years in which Peruggia not hear from Chaudron, he tried to make the best out of his stolen property. Eventually Peruggia was caught by the police while trying to sell the painting to an art dealer in Florence, Italy. The Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1913 was back.
The largest theft in the United States:
The biggest art theft in United States took place at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. On the night of 18 March 1990 broke a group of thieves wearing police uniforms in 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, Vermeer and works, Manet, Degas, Govaert Flinck, as well as a French and a Chinese artifact.
As of 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 along with French art dealers are connected to the crime.
The painting by Edvard Munch, The Scream, is probably the most sought after painting by art thieves in history. It has been stolen twice and was only recently recovered. In 1994, during the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, The Scream was stolen from a gallery in Oslo by two thieves who broke through an open window, set off the alarm and left a note: thanks for the poor security.
Three months later, the holders of the painting approached the Norwegian Government with an offer: 1 million dollars ransom for Edvard Munch’s The Scream. The Government turned down the offer, but the Norwegian police collaborated with the British Police and the Getty Museum, a covert operation that returns the painting, where he belonged organize brought.
Ten years later, The Scream was stolen again from the Munch Museum. This time the robbers took a gun and took another Munch painting with them. While Museum officials waiting for the thieves to request ransom money, rumors spread that both paintings were burned to conceal evidence. Eventually, the Norwegian police discovered the two paintings on 31 August 2006 but the facts on how they were recovered are not known yet.