Top 10 most high-profile art thefts

10.The Jewels of the Green Vault in Dresden

One of the biggest art thefts happened very recently - on November 25, 2019, ancient jewels worth approximately one billion euros were stolen from Dresden's Green Vault collection. Unknown assailants broke into the Wettins' former princely treasury through a window, but previously de-energized it by setting fire to a transformer.

9.The golden toilet by Maurizio Cattelan

In another exceptional case, in 2019, a gold toilet bowl created by conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan was stolen from Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, the birthplace of Winston Churchill. The object of 18-carat gold is estimated at six million dollars. It has not yet been found - the thieves have not left a single trace.

8. "The woman with a fan" by Amedeo Modigliani

In 2010, the work of Amedeo Modigliani called "Woman with a Fan" was stolen along with four other masterpieces by Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Léger from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. The loss was estimated at 115 million euros, and although the thief was caught, the paintings have still not been returned.

7.Henry Moore's "Lying Figure" statue

Another heist occurred in 2005 at the Henry Moore Foundation Gardens in Hertfordshire when a trio of thieves stole a two-ton bronze sculpture called The Lying Figure, which was nearly three meters high. According to surveillance cameras, it took them 10 minutes to do it: they simply loaded the sculpture onto a truck and drove off. The police believe that the sculpture was stolen in order to sell the bronze, but in this case, the thieves received about 10 thousand dollars, while the real value of the work is more than five million dollars.

6. Edvard Munch's Scream and Madonna

Two well-known works by Edvard Munch - The Scream and Madonna - were stolen in 2004 from the Munch Museum in Oslo. Two armed robbers broke into the grounds and removed the paintings from the wall in front of numerous witnesses. Fortunately, after a while, the police still managed to save the national treasure and return it to the museum.

5. "Madonna and Spindle" by Leonardo da Vinci

The original Madonna and Spindle, painted around 1501 by Leonardo da Vinci, is thought to have been lost. But at least three copies are known, two of which are attributed to da Vinci or his school. The 1501 copy (some say it is the original), is in the possession of the Duke of Buccle in Great Britain. In 2003, two burglars pretended to be tourists and snatched the painting through a window. Fortunately it was found in Glasgow and returned in October 2007.

4. "Self-Portrait at the easel" and 19 other paintings by Van Gogh

On April 14, 1991, Van Gogh's paintings were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum. A total of 20 works worth 500 million dollars were stolen. The thieves managed to escape before the police arrived, but 35 minutes later all the works were found in an abandoned car. Four men were brought to justice, two of whom were museum security guards. This crime is still the largest art theft in the Netherlands since World War II.

3. Édouard Manet's Chez Tortoni and Jan Vermeer's Concert

In 1990, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston experienced one of its major art thefts when two men in police suits broke into the building and stole 13 paintings, including Edouard Manet's Chez Tortoni and Jan Vermeer's Concerto. Their whereabouts are still unknown, so there are still empty frames hanging in the museum.

2. "Portrait of Jacob de Gein III" by Rembrandt

Rembrandt's painting has set a record for the number of thefts - it was stolen in 1966, 1973, 1981 and 1986 from the Dalige Picture Gallery. "Portrait of Jacob de Gein III" - the smallest work of the artist, with what are numerous attempts to steal it.

Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa

The legendary work of da Vinci also once removed from the museum - in 1911, the "Mona Lisa" was stolen by a young glassblower Vincenzo Perugia, hiding the work under his coat. But he left the only evidence - a fingerprint on the newly installed protective glass. It was compared with the prints of 257 employees of the Louvre and no matches were found. It never occurred to anyone to suspect the craftsman who installed the glass.


You must be logged in to post a comment.