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Most Famous Art Theft

Below is a list of the most Famous and Valuable Thefts of Art.

Mona Lisa

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.

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Storm on the Sea of Galilee

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 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.

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Poppies near Vetheuil

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.

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Maya With Doll

Maya With Doll by Pablo Picasso, stolen 2007

Maya With Doll was one of two Oil Paintings by Pablo Picasso, valued about $66 million, 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.

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The Madonna


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.

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 arrested 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.

Castle Website


Sea at Scheveningen


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, 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, taking 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.

Museum Website


The Scream


The Scream
by Edward Munch, stolen 2004

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

A Thief 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.

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Flagellation of Christ

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 theft was carried out by Local Criminals who hoped to sell the work on the international market. The Paintings were found undamaged at 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.

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Duke of Wellington

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.

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Impression Sunrise

Impression Sunrise by Claude Monet, stolen - 1985

Monet’s Impression Sunrise, was the most known of nine Paintings stolen from the Paris Marmottan Museum valued at $12.5 million.

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.

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List of Most Expensive Paintings
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