Top 10 Paintings that Have/Had Been StolenWith paintings being one of the world's most valuable items, it’s no wonder that they’ve been the subject of more than a few thefts. Here is a list of some of the most famous works of art ever stolen, some of which have yet to be found.
Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" may be one of the most valuable paintings in the world today, but it wasn't until a theft in 1911 the painting became widely known and appreciated. Hiding in an art-supply closet all night until the Louvre was closed, employee Vincenzo Peruggia stole the painting, leaving just four iron pegs on the walls. Eventually after two years, Peruggia grew impatient and attempted to sell the painting to an art dealer in Florence, only to be sentenced to prison for six months. The painting was then exhibited for over two weeks and returned to the museum in 1914, and has become the best known work of art ever since.
Good that it returned back to the museum.
The browless master
"The Scream", one of the most iconic masterpieces, has been stolen twice in the last 30 years. Munch made four versions of the work, one of which was stolen from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994, and another from the Munch museum 10 years later.
I saw this at a museum
"Poppy Flowers" by Vincent van Gogh has been the subject of two thefts in its lifetime. The first theft occurred in 1977 in the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo, Egypt (which was missing for 10 years until it was found in Kuwait), and the second occurred in 2010 from the same museum. The painting has been missing to this day.
"Portrait of a Young Man" by Raphael, regarded by many as the most important painting missing, was stolen by the Nazis from Poland during World War II. It is suggested that, if found, the painting would be worth of a hundred million US dollars today.
The painting, along with Van Gogh's other artwork "Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather", was stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2002 and remained missing until 13 years in January 2016.
Painted in 1633, the painting, one the world's most valuable missing artworks, was stolen on the morning of March 18, 1990 along with 12 other works, when two thieves disguised as police officers broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The theft is considered to be the biggest art theft in US history, and has remained unsolved since.
Also known as "The Adoration", the "Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence" by artist Caravaggio was stolen on October 18, 1969 from the Oratorio di San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily, and the location of the painting is still unknown to this day. It is believed that either the painting is hidden abroad, or that it was destroyed during the theft or during the 1980 earthquake.
Another artwork that was stolen on the morning of March 18, 1990, in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
The panel was displayed at the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium, until it was stolen (possibly by Arsène Goedertier) during the night of April 10, 1934, never to be seen again. Over seven months later, Arsène Goedertier revealed on his deathbed that he was the only one who knew where the masterpiece was hidden and he took the secret to his grave. It is now believed to have been destroyed.
The "Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I" by Gustav Klimt, along with her four other art pieces, was stolen by the Nazis during the second World War. All five paintings were returned to the niece in 2006, along with other family members, and was sold the same year for $135 million, at the time setting a record price for a painting.