Most Famous Art Theft

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Below is a list of the most famous and valuable thefts of Art..

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, stolen - 1911.

The Mona Lisa, valued at about US $713 million in 2010, was stolen on the 21st of August 1911 from the Louvre museum in Paris.

A Louvre employee named Vincenzo Peruggia, stole the painting after entering the building during opening hours, hid in a broom closet, then made off with the painting under his coat after the museum had closed. Peruggia was an Italian patriot, who stated Leonardo's painting should be displayed in an Italian museum.

Peruggia was caught after attempting to sell the Mona Lisa to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. The painting was exhibited around Italy before returning to the Louvre in 1913.


Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci image

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt,
stolen - 1990.

The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, and 12 other paintings, were taken from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston on the 18th of March 1990 with the thieves being disguised as police. This is claimed to be the largest art theft in US history, still unsolved.

The estimated value of all the paintings is said to be around $500 million. Stolen were Vermeer's The Concert, Rembrandt's A Lady and Gentleman in Black, Self-Portrait, Govaert Flinck's Landscape with Obelisk, and Manet's Chez Tortoni.

As the local police and the FBI have failed to solve the case, a reward is being offered for any information leading to the return of the 13 paintings.

The paintings empty frames are still displayed in the museum, awaiting their return.


The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt image

Poppies Near Vetheuil by Monet, stolen - 2008

Poppies near Vetheuil was one of four paintings taken from Zurich's Emil Buehrle Collection by an armed gang in February 2008, value around $160 million..

A week after the theft, Monet's Poppies near Vetheuil from 1879, and Van Gogh's Chestnut in Bloom from 1890, were found in an abandoned car parked outside a hospital in Zurich.

Degas' Count Lepic and his Daughters from 1871, and Cezanne's Boy in a Red Jacket from 1888, are still missing.


Poppies Near Vetheuil by Monet image

Maya With Doll by Pablo Picasso, stolen 2007.

Maya With Doll was one of two oil paintings by Pablo Picasso, valued about $66 million, that were stolen on the 28th of February 2007. The other painting was Portrait of Jacqueline.

The paintings were taken in Paris from the home of Diana Widmaier-Picasso, granddaughter of Picasso. Both paintings were found on the 7th August 2007. Three people in Paris were arrested.


Maya With Doll image

The Madonna of the Yarnwinder by Leonardo da Vinci, stolen - 2003.

The Madonna of the Yarnwinder, valued in 2008 at £15m - £20m, was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle near Dumfries in southwest Scotland in 2003.

Two thieves, thought to be visitors, overpowered a woman guide at the Duke of Buccleuch's castle and made off with the masterpiece.

Three lawyers, and two clients of a firm of private investigators in Liverpool, were arested for trying to extort £4.25m from the Duke by threatening to damage or destroy the painting. The painting can again be viewed at the Castle.


The Madonna of the Yarnwinder by Leonardo da Vinci image

View of the Sea at Scheveningen by Van Gogh, stolen 2002.

View of the Sea at Scheveningen was one of two paintings by Van Gogh, valued around 30 million dollars, that were taken from the Vincent van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam on the 7th December 2002. The other painting was Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen.

Thieves used a ladder to break in through a window high in the building and took just a few minutes to remove the two pictures from the main exhibition hall. Two men were arrested soon after, but the paintings still have not been found.


View of the Sea at Scheveningen by Van Gogh image

The Scream by Edward Munch, stolen 2004.

The Scream was one of two paintings by the Norwegian artist Edward Munch, stolen in 2004 from the Oslo Munch Museum by two men wearing masks, valued around 30 million dollars. The other painting was Madonna.

The thiefs threatened visitors and museum staff with a pistol while the other took the paintings from the walls.

The two men escaped in a black Audi with a driver waiting for them. Both paintings were found in 2006 with some damage. After restoration, they were displayed again in the Oslo Museum from the 21st May 2008.


The Scream by Edward Munch image

The Flagellation of Christ by Piero della Francesco, stolen - February 1975.

Two paintings by Piero della Francesco, The Flagellation of Christ and The Madonna of Senigallia and also a Raphael, The Mute, were taken from their frames from the Ducal Palace, Urbino in Italy. This was claimed to be the art crime of the century.

The crime was carried out by local criminals who hoped to sell the work on the international market.

The paintings were found undamaged in Locarno in Switzerland in March 1976.

The Flagellation of Christ can be seen at the National Gallery of the Marche, in the Ducal Palace, a Renaissance building in the Italian city of Urbino, listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, about 40 miles south of Rimini on the east coast of Italy.


The Flagellation of Christ image

The Duke of Wellington by Goya, stolen - 1965.

In 1961, the American collector Charles Wrightsman bought Goya's Portrait of the Duke of Wellington for $392,000, with intentions of taking the painting to the United States. There was such a public outrage, the British government had to buy the painting to keep it in the country.

Under three weeks of it being displayed in the National Gallery, it was stolen with the thief demanding a ransom, claiming he would give the money to charity.

In 1965, the thief sent a ticket to the Daily Mirror newspaper for the painting to be found in a railway baggage office. The thief was an unemployed bus driver named Kempton Bunton that turned himself in to the police six weeks later. He stated he had intended to use the money to buy TV licenses for the poor. He served three months in jail.

The painting can be viewed at the The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London.


The Duke of Wellington by Goya image

Impression Sunrise by Claude Monet, stolen - 1985.

Monet’s Impression Sunrise, was the most known of nine paintings stolen in October 1985 from the Paris Marmottan Museum.

Several paintings stolen from a French museum in 1984 were found in Japan. This led police to investigate art theft gangs with connections in Japan.

The police picked up seven people in 1990 after the paintings were found in an apartment in the town of Porto-Vecchio / southern Corsica.

The paintings were taken by Philippe Jamin and Youssef Khimoun. Since 1991, they have been displayed back in the Musee Marmottan Monet in Paris.


Impression Sunrise by Claude Monet image

List of the most expensive paintings.

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