List of stolen paintings

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List of famous stolen paintings are valuable paintings that have been stolen and gained publicity. The paintings listed are from masters of Western art which are valued in millions of dollars. For a list of most expensive paintings, see List of most expensive paintings.

Famous stolen paintings[edit]

Painting Title, Artist Date stolen Location of theft Details Estimated value Reward
Vermeer The concert.JPG The Concert by Johannes Vermeer 18th March 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts, United States The largest art theft in world history occurred in Boston on March 18, 1990 when thieves stole 13 pieces, collectively and altogether worth $300 million, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Among the pieces stolen was Vermeer's The Concert, which is considered to be the most valuable stolen painting in the world. A reward of $5,000,000 is still offered for information leading to their return. Part of a $300,000,000 heist[1] $5,000,000
Rembrandt Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee.jpg The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn March 18, 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts, United States The Storm on the Sea of Galilee is a painting of 1633 by the Dutch Golden Age painter Rembrandt van Rijn that was in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston, Massachusetts, United States, prior to being stolen on March 18, 1990. The painting depicts the miracle of Jesus calming the waves on the Sea of Galilee, as depicted in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is Rembrandt's only seascape. It is widely believed, because of the fourteen people in the boat, that Rembrandt painted himself in the boat along with the twelve disciples and Jesus.[2] The crewmember looking out towards the viewer of the painting has been suggested as being a self-portrait of Rembrandt.[2] Part of a $300,000,000 heist $5,000,000
Van Gogh - Vase mit Pechnelken.jpeg Poppy Flowers by Vincent van Gogh August 2010 Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum, Cairo, Egypt Poppy Flowers (also known as Vase and Flowers and Vase with Viscaria) is a painting by Vincent van Gogh with an estimated value of $50 million[3] The painting, which is of a vase of yellow and red poppies, contrasted against a dark background is a reflection of Van Gogh's deep admiration for Adolphe Monticelli, an older painter whose work influenced him when first he saw it in Paris in 1886.[4] Egyptian officials erroneously believed they had recovered the painting only hours after its theft when two Italian suspects attempted to board a plane to Italy at Cairo International Airport.[5] The same painting had been stolen from the same museum on June 4, 1977, and was recovered ten years later[6] in Kuwait.[7] The painting is small, measuring 65 x 54 cm, and depicts yellow and red poppy flowers.[8] It is believed that van Gogh painted it in 1887, three years before his suicide.[6] $50–55,000,000[3] $175,000
Van Gogh - Strand von Scheveningen bei stürmischen Wetter.jpeg View of the Sea at Scheveningen by Vincent van Gogh December 7, 2002 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands On a blustery day, Van Gogh set up his easel and painted "plein-air" (English in the open air) at a beach resort, Scheveningen, near The Hague to paint View of the Sea at Scheveningen. While Impressionists are often given credit for painting outdoors, they were not the first to do so. Most, however, made sketches on the spot and worked on the painting in a studio. In this case, Van Gogh struggled with the strong wind which sent grains of sand into his thickly applied paint. Although most of the sand was scraped off, there are still a few grains of sand enmeshed in the layers of paint.[9] The tumultuous weather is well depicted with white-capped seas, threatening sky and wind-blown flags. This painting was stolen from the Van Gogh Museum on December 7, 2002 and, at the time of this article, is no longer on display.[10] Part of a $300,000,000 art heist $133,000[11]
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn 076.jpg Landscape with an Obelisk by Govert Flinck March 18, 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts, United States The largest art theft in world history occurred in Boston on March 18, 1990 when thieves stole 13 pieces, collectively worth $300 million, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Among the pieces stolen was Landscape with an Obelisk, which previously was attributed to Rembrandt. A reward of $5,000,000 is still offered for information leading to their return. Part of a $300 million art heist $5,000,000
Van Gogh - Die Kirche von Nuenen mit Kirchgängern.jpeg Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh December 7, 2002 Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen was made by Vincent van Gogh in early 1884 for his parents, his father the pastor of the church since 1882. Van Gogh's mother, Anna van Gogh, was healing from a broken thighbone.[12] Van Gogh wrote to his brother, "Taking her difficult situation into consideration, I am glad to say Mother's spirits are very even and bright. And she is amused by trifles. The other day I painted for her a little church with the hedge and the trees." The letter included a sketch with one person in front of the church,[13] a peasant with a spade. X-rays of the painting indicate that Van Gogh later added church members and autumn leaves to the previously bare trees, which made the work more colorful. The changes were not likely made before the fall of 1885. Van Gogh may have added the woman in mourning and congregation members for his mother as a memorial for his father's death. The painting was stolen from the Van Gogh Museum on December 7, 2002.[12] Part of a $300,000,000 art heist $133,000[11]
View of Auvers-sur-Oise Paul Cezanne.png View of Auvers-sur-Oise by Paul Cézanne December 31, 1999 Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England View of Auvers-sur-Oise is a landscape painting by Paul Cézanne. It was stolen from the Ashmolean Museum on the night before the Millennium during a celebration of fireworks. The painting was never signed or dated by Cézanne because he thought of it as being unfinished.[14] $5,000,000[15]  ?

Famous stolen paintings rumored to be destroyed or lost[edit]

Painting Title, Artist Date stolen Location of theft Details Estimated value Reward
Michelangelo Caravaggio 035.jpg Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence by Caravaggio October 16, 1969 San Lorenzo in Palermo, Sicily The Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence (also known as The Adoration) is a painting from 1609 by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio. It was stolen on October 16, 1969 in Palermo, Sicily. The painting is large measuring almost six square metres (actual size 268 cm x 197 cm) and hung above the altar. Probably because of its size, it was removed from its frame by the thief or thieves (two suspected) before being taken out of the church. After it was stolen, the Oratory was pillaged of other art, along with choir stalls of carved and gilded wood and benches inlaid with precious woods and mother of pearl. $20,000,000[16]  ?
Picasso - Le pigeon aux petits pois 1911.jpg Le pigeon aux petits pois by Pablo Picasso May 20, 2010 Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France Le pigeon aux petits pois (The Pigeon with Green Peas[17]) is a 1911 painting by Pablo Picasso.[18] It was one of five paintings stolen from the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris on May 20, 2010, which together are worth about €100 million ($123 million). The painting has been confirmed as discarded, as the thief threw it in a trash container shortly after the theft. Unfortunately, the container was emptied before it was discovered where the painting could be found[17][19] $28,000,000[20]  ?
Ghent Altarpiece E - Just Judges (original painting).jpg The Just Judges by Jan van Eyck April 10, 1934 Saint Bavo Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium The Just Judges (145 × 51 cm) is the lower left panel of the Ghent Altarpiece, by Jan van Eyck or his brother Hubert Van Eyck. As part of the altarpiece, it was displayed at the Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium, until stolen during the night of April 10, 1934, possibly by the Belgian Arsène Goedertier (Lede, December 23, 1876 – Dendermonde, November 25, 1934). The bishop of Ghent received a ransom demand for one million Belgian francs. On November 25, 1934 the thief revealed on his deathbed that he was the only one who knew where the masterpiece was hidden, and that he would take the secret to his grave. Although several people have claimed to know its whereabouts, the painting has never been recovered and is now believed to be destroyed. The panel was replaced in 1945 by a copy by Belgian copyist Jef Vanderveken. Unknown[20]  ?
Harlequin Head” (Tête d'Arlequin, 1971) by Pablo Picasso October 15–16, 2012 Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam Main article: Kunsthal Art theft
Presumably burnt by an accomplice[21][22][23]
Unknown  ?
Reading Girl in White and Yellow” (La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune, 1919) by Henri Matisse October 15–16, 2012 Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam Main article: Kunsthal Art theft
Presumably burnt by an accomplice[21][22][23]
Unknown  ?
Waterloo Bridge in London.jpg "Waterloo Bridge, London" (1901) by Claude Monet October 15–16, 2012 Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam Main article: Kunsthal Art theft
Presumably burnt by an accomplice[21][22][23]
Unknown  ?
Charing Cross Bridge, London.jpg "Charing Cross Bridge, London" (1901) by Claude Monet October 15–16, 2012 Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam Main article: Kunsthal Art theft
Presumably burnt by an accomplice[21][22][23]
Unknown  ?
Girl in Front of Open Window.jpg "Girl in Front of Open Window" (Femme devant une fenêtre ouverte, also known as La Fiancée, 1888) by Paul Gauguin October 15–16, 2012 Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam Main article: Kunsthal Art theft
Presumably burnt by an accomplice[21][22][23]
Unknown  ?
Meyer-de-haans-autoportrait-circa-1889--91.jpg "Self-Portrait" (Autoportrait, circa 1889-91) by Meyer de Haan (Meijer de Haan) October 15–16, 2012 Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam Main article: Kunsthal Art theft
Presumably burnt by an accomplice[21][22][23]
Unknown  ?
Woman with Eyes Closed (2002) by Lucian Freud October 15–16, 2012 Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam Main article: Kunsthal Art theft
Presumably burnt by an accomplice[21][22][23]
Unknown  ?

Famous paintings plundered by the Nazis[edit]

Painting Title, Artist Date taken Location Details Estimated value Status
Gustav Klimt 046.jpg Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt 1940s Austria Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I is a 1907 painting by Gustav Klimt. According to press reports it was sold for US$135 million to Ronald Lauder for his Neue Galerie in New York City in June 2006, which made it at that time the most expensive painting for about 4 months.[24] It has been on display at the gallery since July 2006. Klimt took three years to complete the painting. It measures 138 x 138 cm and is made of oil and gold on canvas, showing elaborate and complex ornamentation as seen in the Jugendstil style. Klimt was a member of the Vienna Secession, a group of artists that broke away from the traditional way of painting. Adele Bloch-Bauer, in her will, asked her husband to donate the Klimt paintings to the Austrian State Gallery upon his death.[25] She died in 1925 from meningitis. When the Nazis took over Austria, her widowed husband had to flee to Switzerland. His property, including the Klimt paintings, was confiscated. In his 1945 testament, Bloch-Bauer designated his nephew and nieces, including Maria Altmann, as the inheritors of his estate.[26] $135,000,000 Returned to Maria Altmann, niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer. See main article Republic of Austria v. Altmann
Raphael missing.jpg Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael 1940s Poland Portrait of a Young Man is a painting in oil on panel, probably from 1513–1514, by the Italian High Renaissance Old Master painter and architect Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino better known simply as Raphael.[27] The painting was plundered by the Nazis in Poland. The subject's identity is unverified, but many scholars have traditionally regarded it as Raphael's self-portrait. The facial features are perceived by specialists as compatible with, if not clearly identical to, the only undoubted self-portrait by Raphael in his fresco The School of Athens at the Vatican, identified as such by Vasari. If it is a self-portrait, no hint is given of Raphael's profession; the portrait shows a richly-dressed and "confidently-poised" young man.[28] In recent times, a book about Nazi plunder by Lynn H. Nicholas and a documentary film by the same title, The Rape of Europa, suggested that if the painting were to reappear today, it would be worth in excess of $100M US. $100,000,000[29] Reported to have been found 1 August 2012

Recovered famous stolen paintings[edit]

Painting Title, Artist Date stolen Location of theft Details Estimated value Status
Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, from C2RMF retouched.jpg Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci 1911 Musée du Louvre, Paris
For more details see Theft section of Mona Lisa article.
The Mona Lisa painting now hangs in the Musée du Louvre in Paris. The painting's increasing fame was further emphasized when it was stolen on August 21, 1911.[30] The Louvre was closed for an entire week to aid in investigation of the theft.
Assessed in 1962 at $100 million.[31] Adjusted inflation to the current day it would be worth $743,000,000, although some would consider the painting priceless. Recovered in 1913 after the thief, Vincenzo Peruggia, attempted to sell it
CaravaggioJeromeValletta.jpg Saint Jerome Writing by Caravaggio 29 December 1984 St. John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta Stolen in 1984 and recovered in 1988. The painting was damaged after the burglars cut it out of its frame, and it was restored in 1990. Recovered 4 August 1988
Paul Cézanne, Jeune garçon au gilet rouge (1888-89).jpg The Boy in the Red Vest by Paul Cézanne February 10, 2008 Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zürich, Switzerland The Boy in the Red Vest is an 1894/95[32] painting (Venturi 681) by Paul Cézanne. It depicts a boy in traditional Italian attire. On February 10, 2008, the painting was stolen from Foundation E.G. Bührle in Zürich, Switzerland along with three other pieces.[33] It was the museum's most valuable painting. $91,000,000[34] Recovered.[35] The painting was recovered in Serbia on April 12, 2012.
Edgar Germain Hilaire Degas 053.jpg Count Lepic and His Daughters by Edgar Degas February 10, 2008 Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zürich, Switzerland Count Lepic and His Daughters is an 1870 painting by Edgar Degas. On February 10, 2008, the painting was stolen from Foundation E.G. Bührle in Zürich, Switzerland.[33] Four paintings were stolen altogether with two of them being returned in 2008. Degas also painted Viscount Ludovic-Napoléon Lepic in the 1875 painting, Place de la Concorde.[36] Part of a $162.5 million art heist[37][38] Recovered in Serbia in April 2012[39]
The Scream.jpg "The Scream" (Der Schrei der Natur) by Edvard Munch 1994
and
2004
National Gallery, Oslo
and
Munch Museum, Oslo
For more details see Thefts section in The Scream article.

The Scream has been the target of several high-profile art thefts. In 1994, the version in the National Gallery, Oslo was stolen. It was recovered several months later. In 2004, both "The Scream" and Madonna were stolen from the Munch Museum, and recovered two years later.

$110,000,000 Recovered

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stolen, a documentary about the theft of The Concert, from the PBS website.
  2. ^ a b Goldfarb, Hilliard T. (1995). The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: A Companion Guide and History. Yale University. pp. 97–98. ISBN 0-300-06341-5. 
  3. ^ a b "Egyptian authorities recover stolen Van Gogh painting". CNN. August 21, 2010. Retrieved August 21, 2010. [dead link]
  4. ^ Guardian, Stolen Van Gogh Still Missing Retrieved August 26, 2010
  5. ^ "Faulty alarms blamed for Van Gogh theft in Egypt". BBC News. August 22, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Van Gogh painting stolen in Cairo". BBC News. August 21, 2010. Retrieved August 21, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Egyptian minister says Van Gogh picture still missing". BBC News. August 22, 2010. Retrieved August 22, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Egypt Court Jails Officials Over Van Gogh's "Vase with Viscaria" Stolen in August". artdaily.org. April 22, 2011. Retrieved May 6, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Plein-air Painting". Permanent Collection. Van Gogh Museum. 2005–2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  10. ^ "View of the Sea at Scheveningen, 1882". Permanent Collection. Van Gogh Museum. 2005–2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Van Gogh Museum offers reward for information about theft of paintings (press release), Van Gogh Museum, 2003. Retrieved on February 5, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, 1884". Permanent Collection. Van Gogh Museum. 2005–2011. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written c. 24 January 1884 in Nuenen.". Van Gogh Paintings. Van Gogh Gallery. 2011. Retrieved May 17, 2011. 
  14. ^ http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98281679
  15. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/US/worlds-valuable-missing-works-art/story?id=16131807#6
  16. ^ http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/arttheft/caravaggio
  17. ^ a b "Five masterpieces stolen from Paris modern art museum". BBC News. May 20, 2010. 
  18. ^ "PHOTOS: Theft at Paris Museum of Modern Art". Los Angeles Times (Tribune Company). May 20, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  19. ^ http://www.svd.se/kultur/stulna-masterverk-slangdes-i-container_6548527.svd
  20. ^ a b http://www.cnbc.com/id/42342061/The_World_s_Biggest_Art_Heists?slide=6
  21. ^ a b c d e f g http://globalnews.ca/news/721441/romanian-museum-analyzing-whether-stolen-paintings-including-picasso-and-matisse-were-burned/
  22. ^ a b c d e f g http://www.mediafax.ro/social/tablourile-furate-din-olanda-au-fost-arse-de-mama-lui-radu-dogaru-operele-de-arta-aduse-in-romania-in-perne-11125995#comments
  23. ^ a b c d e f g http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/stageandarts/215713011.html
  24. ^ Vogel, Carol (June 19, 2006). "NY Times report from June 19, 2006". The New York Times. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  25. ^ "Last Will 1923". Adele.at. January 19, 1923. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Bloch-Bauer 1945 testament". Arthistory.about.com. Retrieved May 15, 2011. 
  27. ^ Houpt, Simon et al. (2006). Museum of the Missing, p. 49.
  28. ^ Jones, Roger et al. (1983). Raphael, p. 170–171.
  29. ^ PBS: The Rape of Europa., 2006 film, aired November 24, 2008.
  30. ^ "Theft of the Mona Lisa". Stoner Productions via Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). Retrieved October 24, 2009. 
  31. ^ Louvre in India, minus Mona Lisa – The Telegraph
  32. ^ Foundation E.G. Bührle: The Boy in the Red Vest (1894/95)
  33. ^ a b "Reward for $180m Zurich art heist bandits". Herald Sun (Australia). February 13, 2008. 
  34. ^ "2 Paintings Stolen From Zurich Museum Didn’t Get Far". NY Times, February 20, 2008
  35. ^ "Stolen Cezanne found by Serbian police". BBC News. April 12, 2012. 
  36. ^ Samuel, Henry (February 11, 2008). "Paintings worth £85 million stolen in Zurich". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  37. ^ Interpol: Four masterpieces stolen from Zurich museum (ref.: 2008/5583)
  38. ^ Harnischfeger, Uta and Nicholas Kulish. At Zurich Museum, a Theft of 4 Masterworks. The New York Times. February 12, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2011.
  39. ^ http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/culture/Stolen_Degas_recovered_damaged.html?cid=32566670

External links[edit]

Media related to stolen paintings at Wikimedia Commons