51 Famous Paintings That Were Stolen, And Some Of Them Are Still Missing
It's not always banks and jewelers that get targeted by thieves endeavoring to steal millions worth of goods. Very often the targets are, in fact, museums and art galleries, and the thieves often have their bullseye set on specific targets. Famous paintings and expensive artworks often become their primary objective. Hence, many famous stolen paintings have fallen victim to the hands of burglars. And although some stolen paintings have been returned to their owners' hands, many's whereabouts remain a mystery.
Arguably the biggest art theft in history, dubbed the Gardner heist or the 1990 theft, in which 13 works of art were stolen, remains a mystery even 30 years later. Among the famous stolen paintings still missing are works by Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne and many other masterminds who probably never imagined their artworks would ever be worth millions and sought after by federal agencies all over the world. However, the pitfall for both the investigators and the burglars is that stolen artwork is often "too famous to fence." This implies that the criminals are stuck with something they can't sell, which, to a certain degree, complicates the process of tracking down the lost paintings. However, not all hope is lost since the search for the stolen paintings has never ceased, and numerous famous paintings have already made it safely to their rightful owners.
If the history of art theft is something you want to learn more about, below, we've compiled a list of stolen paintings with some background information on how they were stolen. Other than that, we've made it clear to indicate which of the stolen paintings were recovered and which ones are still missing. As always, upvote your favorite pieces and let us know if you know any more details regarding any of the theft cases! And although we do our best to fact-check the information we provide, we would highly appreciate you letting us know if you spot any errors and inaccuracies. And now, on to investigating!
The Scream By Edvard Munch
Stolen in 2004 | Retrieved in 2006
The Scream and Madonna, two paintings by Edvard Munch, were stolen in 2004. The artworks were reportedly stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo by two armed robbers when the museum was crowded with tourists. It was only two years later, in 2006, that the Oslo police found the artworks. The paintings were mainly undamaged, despite some minor damage. And although the thieves' motivations are still a mystery to art aficionados, it is believed that they probably had nothing to do with the paintings' monetary value.
The White Duck By Jean-Baptiste Oudry
Stolen in 1992 | Still missing
The White Duck was stolen from Houghton Hall, England, in 1992; it has been regarded as missing ever since. A burglar stole this painting by creating a smokescreen to foil surveillance cameras. After activating a smoke canister, the robber used a small fan to disperse the smoke and block the view of the closed-circuit cameras in the gallery before removing the artwork from its frame and fleeing.
Mona Lisa By Leonardo Da Vinci
Stolen in 1911 | Retrieved in 1913
It's believed that the Mona Lisa's theft from the Louvre in 1911 contributed to its status as one of the most famous works of art across the whole globe. Apparently, a handyman at the Louvre who was creating glass cases for artworks was the one who took it. He waited until dusk to sneak out with the picture by hiding in a closet. The painting was retrieved in 1913 after the burglar contacted an art dealer and a gallery and said he intended to return it to Italy.
Impression, Sunrise By Claude Monet
Stolen in 1985 | Retrieved in 1990
The painting and eight other Impressionist works were stolen from Marmottan Museum in Paris in 1985 by a group of seven (other sources claim that five) armed robbers who stole the artworks while forcing a guard and visitors to lie on the floor. All nine were retrieved from a villa on the French island of Corsica in 1990. According to The New York Times and the curator of the Marmottan Museum, Arnaud d'Hauterives, Monet's painting suffered no damage "except that of being shut up in a cubbyhole for five years."
Beach In Pourville By Claude Monet
Stolen in 2000 | Retrieved in 2010
In 2000, the painting was stolen from the Pozna National Museum in Poland. It was removed from its frame and swapped out for a replica that had been painted on cardboard. Police were looking for a man seen sketching paintings in a museum two days prior. The artwork was found in 2010, after more than 9 years of searching, when police officers showed up at the home of Olkusz bricklayer Robert Z. They searched the house and found it hidden behind a closet wall and, thankfully, in good shape.
Poppy Flowers By Vincent Van Gogh
Stolen in 2010 | Still missing
Known as both Poppy Flowers and Vase With Flowers, the first time the renowned painting by this Dutch painter got stolen was in 1887 from Cairo's Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Egypt. It was recovered in an undisclosed location in Kuwait after a decade-long search, only to go missing again in August 2010. According to Reuters, Naguib Sawiris, an Egyptian billionaire, has pledged a $175,300 reward for information that leads to recovering a stolen Van Gogh artwork.
The Potato Eaters By Vincent Van Gogh
Stolen in 1988 | Retrieved 35 minutes after
The Potato Eaters has become a target of theft twice. The first time was in 1988 when the thieves stole it from the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands. However, the police recovered it soon enough, in 1989. The second robbery attempt occurred in 1991, when 20 famous artworks, including the finished version of The Potato Eaters, were stolen from the Vincent van Gogh National Museum in the Netherlands. Their getaway vehicle, however, had a flat tire, forcing the robbers to leave and abandon the artworks. Thus, the paintings were found 35 minutes after the heist.
A Lady And Gentleman In Black By Rembrandt
Stolen in 1990 | Still missing
Before being stolen in 1990, Rembrandt's A Lady and Gentleman in Black hung in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum of Boston, Massachusetts. The 1990 theft saw a total of thirteen works of art being stolen. Apparently, two individuals who posed as police officers were let in by the guards and robbed the museum while the guards were bound over the following hour. No arrests have been made, and the case remains unsolved. The works, which have a collective worth of $500 million, have never been recovered.
Nativity With St. Francis And St. Lawrence By Caravaggio
Stolen in 1969 | Still missing
Allegedly, two thieves stole the picture from its location at Palermo chapel in Sicily's capital in October 1969. They removed the painting from its frame and grabbed a carpet that, according to the authorities, was used to roll up the artwork. Although speculations suggest that the Sicilian mafia was responsible for the crime, no one is certain who took the outstanding work of art. And even though its value has skyrocketed ever since, the artwork was never retrieved.
Blossoming Chestnut Branches By Vincent Van Gogh
Stolen in 2008 | Retrieved 9 days later
In February 2008, a high-profile robbery from a private gallery in Zürich, Switzerland, resulted in the disappearance of four artworks, Blossoming Chestnut Branches being one of them. The other three works were Paul Cezanne's Boy in the Red Waistcoat, Claude Monet's Poppies near Vétheuil, and Edgar Degas' Count Lepic and His Daughters. Together with Monet's piece, Van Gogh's painting was discovered nine days later in a parked car in Zürich and delivered undamaged back to the gallery.
The Concert By Johannes Vermeer
Stolen in 1990 | Still missing
The Concert is another one of the 13 paintings stolen on March 18, 1990, from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, all of which remain missing. According to some experts, Vermeer's masterpiece could be the world's most expensive object ever stolen. In 2015, it was valued at $250 million.
Portrait Of A Young Man By Raphael
Stolen in 1945 | Still missing
The painting was last seen at Wawel Royal Castle, Poland, in 1945. In 2012, it was reported to have been found, but the claims were false. Hence the artwork's whereabouts and the details of how it went missing remain unknown. The painting's original empty frame is currently displayed in the Krakow National Museum. The museum is offering a reward of 100 million dollars for its recovery.
Light And Colour By Joseph Mallord William Turner
Stolen in 1994 | Retrieved in 2002
Light and Colour was among three paintings stolen in Frankfurt art theft in 1994. Another work of his, Shade and Darkness, was also stolen. According to BBC, although it's believed the mastermind behind the robbery was a member of Frankfurt's Balkan mafia, only the two known thieves and a handler were ever found guilty. This case of art theft stands out because of how two stolen artworks were recovered. Allegedly, the two artworks were recovered by purchasing them back from the thieves after the Tate had paid a reputable middleman several million pounds.
The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee By Rembrandt
Stolen in 1990 | Still missing
The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee also fell victim to the massive art theft that happened on the morning of March 18, 1990, when two men posing as police officers broke into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and took 13 paintings. To this day, this theft is considered the biggest art theft in U.S. history and remains unsolved. Hence, this and other famous paintings' whereabouts have remained unknown since 1990.
Allegory Of The Earth By Jan Brueghel The Elder
Stolen in 2007 | Retrieved in 2008
Jan Brueghel the Elder created a series of paintings titled Allegory of the Earth. One of these paintings, with three others, was stolen from an art museum in Nice, France, in 2007. A year later, in 2008, four stolen artworks were found undamaged in a car near the city of Marseille, France. Apparently, the masked gunmen who were holding staff members and visitors hostage took the artworks. According to The New York Times, more than ten people, as reported by police, were detained in relation to the incident.
Beach At Scheveningen In Stormy Weather By Vincent Van Gogh
Stolen in 2002 | Retrieved in 2016
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam owned Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather from 1989 until 2002, when it was stolen with another work of the Dutch painter. It was reported missing for more than 13 years until Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather and other stolen works were found in 2016, close to Naples, Italy, by the Italian police. It was found without its original frame under the kitchen floor of a home linked to Camorra gang leader Raffaele Imperiale. After some restoration, it was returned back to the Van Gogh Museum and put back on display in 2017.
The Guitar Player By Johannes Vermeer
Stolen in 1974 | Retrieved in 1974
In 1974, a museum guard at Kenwood House in London heard a loud crash, followed by the sound of broken glass. When the guard got there, he saw that someone had used a sledgehammer to break down the museum's shutters and steel-barred ground-floor window, took the artwork off the wall, and fled. Soon after, a half-mile from the Kenwood House, the frame of The Guitar Player was found. Because the glass had been cracked and the frame had sustained damage to one corner, police thought the artwork was also destroyed. But fortunately, that wasn't the case. That same year, after the police received an anonymous tip, the painting was found in a London cemetery. The artwork was damp but other than that, it remained undamaged.
Saint Jerome Writing By Caravaggio
Stolen in 1984 | Retrieved in 1986
In December 1984, the painting, with the canvas cut out of the frame, was stolen from the St. John's Co-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta. There was just one guide on duty because it was the holiday season. Two years later, the artwork was finally retrieved after numerous telephone negotiations between the thieves and the then Director of Museums in Malta and Gozo, Fr. Marius J. Zerafa. The masterpiece was returned damaged and hence needed restoration before it was put on display again. Allegedly, the thieves were never arrested or imprisoned. Because the case dragged on for years, nobody was left to bring charges against because one burglar passed away after a possible accidental overdose, and the other passed away while the legal process still continued.
View Of Auvers-Sur-Oise By Paul Cézanne
Stolen in 1999 | Still missing
As part of the worldwide millennium celebrations, as expected, fireworks were let off in Oxford, England, at midnight on December 31, 1999. Allegedly, a burglar used the noise and distraction to break into the Ashmolean Museum and steal Cezanne’s landscape painting View of Auvers-sur-Oise, valued at £3 million at the time. Cézanne's painting seemed to be the only target of the burglar, who only appeared to enter the room where the artwork was hanging. The painting was never retrieved.
Lady Writing A Letter With Her Maid By Johannes Vermeer
Stolen in 1986 | Retrieved in 1993
In April 1974, armed members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) stole Lady Writing A Letter With Her Maid and other artworks from Sir Alfred Beit's Russborough House residence. Nevertheless, eight days later, the artworks were found. However, the painting was stolen once again in 1986 by a group led by the Irish criminal Martin Cahill. Cahill demanded IR£20 million in exchange for the artwork. However, he never received the money. Ultimately, the painting was recovered during a sting operation run by the Irish police that took place in August 1993 at Antwerp Airport.
The Love Letter By Johannes Vermeer
Stolen in 1971 | Retrieved later that year
Vermeer's famous work was stolen in September 1971 from The Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, where it was on loan from the Rijksmuseum. The burglar, Mario Pierre Roymans, 21 at the time, hid in an electrical closet and waited for the museum to close. After removing the painting from the wall, he attempted to flee. But when the frame wouldn't fit through the window, he used a potato peeler to separate the canvas from its frame. He initially kept the painting hidden in a hotel he worked at. Later, he buried it in a forest, but as it started to rain, he dug it out and hid it under his pillowcase in his room. Allegedly, the young man committed theft for 'noble reasons' to raise money to combat world famine. Nevertheless, he was soon apprehended by the police. Though in bad shape, the painting was returned to the Rijksmuseum in October.
The Parsonage Garden At Nuenen By Vincent Van Gogh
Stolen in 2020 | Still missing
Relatively recently, on March 30, 2020, Van Gogh's birthday (!), the artwork was taken from the Singer Laren museum in Laren, North Holland. The museum had been closed to visitors during the robbery due to the COVID-19 epidemic; hence there were no potential witnesses. According to police, the glass doors were broken, and whoever did this fled before the police arrived. In 2021, a 58-year-old man was detained by Dutch police on suspicion of stealing paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Frans Hals, stolen later the same year. The individual was later found guilty of the offenses and given an eight-year jail term. Unfortunately, neither of the artworks had then been recovered.
The Crowning Of Saint Catherine By Peter Paul Rubens
Stolen in 1933 | Retrieved in 1945
Allegedly, The Crowning Of Saint Catherine was stolen by one of the most powerful figures in the Nazi Party, Hermann Göring, from Leopold Koppel's, a German art collector’s, private collection. It was found by American soldiers in a salt mine at the end of World War II. Leopold's son Albert eventually recovered it and sold it to the current owner in 1950, along with several other works.
Sulmierzyce Madonna By Lucas Cranach The Elder
Stolen in 1995 | Still missing
This painting has quite an interesting story behind it. The records indicate that the artwork arrived in Sulmierzyce, Poland, in the latter part of the 16th century. The Sulmierski family was meant to transport it elsewhere. According to a local legend, the horses reared up and could not be moved by anybody or anything. This was regarded as providence; hence the picture stayed in Sulmierzyce. On March 15, 1666, church authorities deemed the painting miraculous since it had withstood several fires and plundering by numerous invasion armies. However, it was stolen from the church's main altar in 1995.
Portrait Of Suzanne Bloch By Pablo Picasso
Stolen in 2007 | Retrieved in 2008
The painting was stolen from the São Paulo Museum of Art in Brazil in December 2007. Three men broke into the museum at five in the morning and stole Picasso's Portrait of Suzanne Bloch along with Portinari's O Lavrador de Café. It's believed that the entire heist operation took roughly three minutes. The paintings were found in January 2008 by the police at Ferraz de Vasconcelos in São Paulo.
Stammer Windmill By Piet Mondrian
Stolen in 2012 | Retrieved in 2021
2012 saw the theft, now dubbed "theft of the century,” of two famous paintings and a sketch from Greece's National Gallery. In a seven-minute heist, two burglars stole Pablo Picasso's Head of a Woman and Stammer Windmill by Piet Mondrian and Guglielmo Caccia’s sketch St. Diego de Alcala in Ecstasy with the Holy Trinity and the Symbols of Passion. According to ARTnews, just recently, in January 2023, a 50-year-old man who was charged with stealing three works of art from the Greece National Gallery in Athens in January 2012 was given a six-year jail sentence with a suspended prison term.
Portrait Of A Lady By Gustav Klimt
Stolen in 1997 | Retrieved in 2019
The artwork is believed to have been stolen in February 1997 during building renovations from a modern art gallery in Piacenza, northern Italy. It was thought to have vanished permanently until 2019, when a worker removing ivy from the gallery wall stumbled on a metal panel. A black bag containing what looked to be the lost painting was in a recess behind it. It was the original Portrait of a Lady that had been stripped of its frame. The Galleria officials were overjoyed to learn that new X-rays that matched those from before the 1997 theft had confirmed the painting's authenticity.
Paysage Bords De Seine By Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Stolen in 1951 | Retrieved in 2012
Paysage Bords de Seine was stolen in November 1951, sometime during the From Ingres to Gauguin exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The museum sold the painting's title in exchange for a $2,500 insurance payout from an insurance company, which compensated the museum for its loss. Apparently, a woman named Marcia Fuqua brought that same painting to an auction house in Alexandria, Virginia, in July 2012 with the intention of selling it. The artwork was expected to fetch at least $75,000 at auction. According to Fuqua, she paid $7 for the painting at a flea market in West Virginia. However, this was never confirmed. The artwork's title was returned to the Baltimore Museum of Art in 2013.
Portrait Of A Seated Woman With A Handkerchief By Carel Fabritius
Stolen in 1959 | Retrieved in NIA
Portrait Of A Seated Woman With A Handkerchief was one of six works stolen from the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1959. The burglars targeted the most valuable pieces: Rembrandt's Portrait of a Lady with a Lap Dog and Frans Hals’ Portrait of Isaak Abrahamsz. Massa. However, Woman with a Handkerchief, still considered Rembrandt's work at the time, had the highest value of the stolen items, according to the gallery's insurance. Allegedly, the insurance company eventually paid a ransom to recover the painting.
Two Laughing Boys With A Mug Of Beer By Frans Hals
Stolen in 2020 | Still missing
This painting has been a "regular" target of theft. It was stolen three times in 1988, 2011, and 2020. The third time it was stolen from the Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden museum in Leerdam, Netherlands. One explanation for why it is stolen so often is that multiple theft attempts have helped establish its market value, which makes it easier to sell stolen goods. In 2021, a 58-year-old man was detained by Dutch police on suspicion of stealing paintings by Frans Hals and Vincent van Gogh. The individual was later found guilty of the offenses and given an eight-year jail term. Unfortunately, neither of the artworks have since been recovered.
Portrait Of Georgiana, Duchess Of Devonshire By Thomas Gainsborough
Stolen in 1876 | Retrieved in 1901
After the painting's owner, the art collector Wynne Ellis, passed away, the artwork was put up for sale and purchased by Bond Street art dealer William Agnew. However, just three weeks later, it was stolen from the gallery of Thomas Agnew & Sons in London. Yet it wasn't until 25 years later that the identity of the thief — the renowned Adam Worth, dubbed the "Napoleon of Crime" — was revealed. He had planned to sell it to get the money for his brother's release on bond. Still, once his brother was released without bail, Worth decided to keep it for himself and brought it home to the United States. In early 1901, he offered $25,000 restitution to return the painting to Agnew's son. In March 1901, the painting and cash were exchanged, and the artwork was returned to London.
Summer's Day By Berthe Morisot
Stolen in 1956 | Retrieved several days later
Two Irish students, Paul Hogan and Billy Fogarty, stole the artwork from the Tate Gallery in London on April 12, 1956. Allegedly, they stole it to emphasize Ireland's claim to the Hugh Lane Bequest. However, several days later, the painting was returned via the Irish Embassy.
Charcoal Burners By Tom Roberts
Stolen in 1978 | Retrieved in 1979
In August 1978, the art gallery in Ballarat, Australia, saw the robbery of a 92-year-old artwork. Australia's so-called "biggest single art heist" involved a man on crutches with a plastered leg. Even though the theft attracted a lot of media attention, the exact details of the painting's recovery were kept a secret. According to ABC News, the gallery director at the time was eventually contacted by someone from Sydney who claimed to have information about the missing artwork and the chance of its recovery in exchange for a ransom. While the specifics of how the picture was retrieved are still unknown, a ransom was believed to be paid.
Portrait Of Isaak Abrahamsz. Massa By Frans Hals
Stolen in 1959 | Retrieved 3 weeks after
Portrait Of Isaak Abrahamsz. Massa was stolen along with five others works from the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1959. The painting was found in a Parkdale storage room three weeks after it went missing. It had only sustained minor damage.
A Soldier On Horseback By Anthony Van Dyck
Stolen in 2020 | Still missing
A Soldier On Horseback was stolen in March 2020 from Christ Church Picture Gallery in England. Salvator Rosa's A Rocky Coast, with Soldiers Studying a Plan and Annibale Carracci's A Boy Drinking were also among the artworks taken by the burglars that evening. According to Christ Church Picture Gallery's recent tweet, the paintings' whereabouts remain unknown.
La Clairière By Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Stolen in 1987 | Retrieved in 2009
La Clairière was stolen in 1987 with eight other paintings from art dealer Robert Noortman's gallery in Maastricht. According to Antiques Trade Gazette, eight, including works of Camille Pissarro, David Teniers, Willem van de Velde, Jan Brueghel the Younger, Eva Gonzalès, and Paul-Desiré Trouillebert, were recovered in a Dutch sting operation. It is thought that the ninth missing artwork was destroyed.
Portrait Of Jacob De Gheyn III By Rembrandt
Stolen in 1983 | Retrieved in 1986
The painting has been dubbed "takeaway Rembrandt" because it has been reported as having been stolen four times since 1966, the most of any artwork. In a fourth attempt to steal the painting in 1983, the thief smashed a skylight, entered the art gallery through it, and used a crowbar to pull it from the wall. Within three minutes, the cops showed up, but they were too late to catch the robber. The picture was lost for three years until it was found in a luggage rack at the railway station in Münster, Germany, in 1986.
Child With A Soap Bubble
Stolen in 1999 | Retrieved in 2014
Although it's been stated that Child with a Soap Bubble is a Rembrandt painting, as was confirmed by Jacques Foucart, former curator of the Nordic paintings at the Louvre, Child with a Soap Bubble is indeed not a Rembrandt painting but rather inspired by him. Nevertheless, the painting was stolen from the Musee Municipal D'art Et D'histoire in Draguignan, France, in 1999 during Bastille Day celebrations. Only after 15 years was it found in Nice, and two men were arrested in relation to the theft.
Rest On The Flight Into Egypt By Titian
Stolen in 1995 | Retrieved in 2002
The two-foot-wide panel painting depicting Jesus, Mary, and Joseph taking a short break on their way to Egypt was stolen from the first-floor state drawing room of Lord Bath's Longleat estate in Wiltshire in 1995. In 2002, the artwork was discovered in the Greater London area securely wrapped in a plastic carrier bag, ending the seven-year hunt for a stolen Titian masterpiece valued at more than £5 million.
The Boy In The Red Vest By Paul Cezanne
Stolen in 2008 | Retrieved in 2012
Though it took only 9 days to recover two of the four paintings stolen from a private gallery in Zürich, Switzerland, in February 2008, locating The Boy In The Red Vest took another 4 years. The painting was the last of the four retrieved and was located in Serbia in April 2012.
Chez Tortoni By Édouard Manet
Stolen in 1990 | Still missing
One of the 13 artworks stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990 was Chez Tortoni. According to the FBI, the robbery was allegedly organized by a criminal group. Because the case lacked strong physical evidence, the national security organization relied solely on interrogations, undercover informants, and sting operations and concentrated chiefly on the Boston Mafia, which was engaged in an internal gang war at the time. The fact that the frame was not left on the gallery floor like the other frames adds to the intrigue surrounding the theft of Chez Tortoni. However, the fact that it was left on the security director's chair seems to be a very personal jab.
Les Choristes By Edgar Degas
Stolen in 2009 | Retrieved in 2018
The artwork, which had been on loan from Musée d'Orsay in Paris, was stolen from Marseille's Musée Cantini in 2009. The painting, valued at €800,000, was removed from the wall by the burglars after they allegedly simply unscrewed the frame. It was believed that a museum employee had somehow helped the thieves. A night watchman was detained, but there was no justification for keeping him, so he was shortly released. After that, the investigators had no further leads. Nine years later, in 2018, according to France's former minister of culture, Françoise Nyssen, the artwork was found in a bus's luggage compartment when none of the passengers were willing to claim the bag.
Congregation Leaving The Reformed Church In Nuenen By Vincent Van Gogh
Stolen in 2002 | Retrieved in 2016
Together with Van Gogh's early work Beach at Scheveningen in Stormy Weather, it was stolen in December 2002. It was lost for more than 13 years before being found by the Italian police in January 2016 at Castellammare di Stabia, close to Naples, however, without its original frame. It was returned to the museum and put back on exhibit in March 2017.
Landscape With Obelisk By Govert Flinck
Stolen in 1990 | Still missing
Yet another one of the 13 artworks stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1990 is Landscape With Obelisk. This landscape, long believed to be by Rembrandt, was revealed in the 1980s to be Govaert Flinck's work. It was thought so because Rembrandt's landscapes from the 1630s are reminiscent of the threatening setting with the brilliantly lighted obelisk in the front.
Love And Pain By Edvard Munch
Stolen in 1988 | Retrieved later that year
In February 1988, a version of Love And Pain, sometimes named Vampire, was stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway. Allegedly, it was found shortly after when the thief, a former Norwegian footballer Paal Enger, contacted the police. Apparently, Paal Enger was also one of the four men convicted and sentenced in connection with the later 1994 theft, during which another painting by Munch, The Scream, was stolen.
Madeleine Leaning On Her Elbow With Flowers In Her Hair By Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Stolen in 2011 | Still missing
The painting Madeleine Leaning on Her Elbow with Flowers in Her Hair was stolen during an armed robbery in a Houston home in September 2011. The homeowner was watching TV when she heard a loud noise. An armed guy wearing a ski mask confronted her as she went to look into it. According to the FBI, the Renoir painting has been added to the FBI’s Top Ten list. For information leading to the painting’s recovery, a private insurer is offering up to $50,000.
Count Lepic And His Daughters By Edgar Degas
Stolen in 2008 | Retrieved in 2012
One of the four paintings stolen in 2008, a high-profile robbery from a private gallery in Zürich, Switzerland, was Degas' Count Lepic And His Daughters. Fortunately, the painting was recovered in April 2012, though with slight damage.
Portrait Of The Duke Of Wellington By Francisco Goya
Stolen in 1961 | Retrieved in 1965
The painting was stolen in August 1961 from the National Gallery in London by bus driver Kempton Bunton. According to the BBC, over the next four years, Bunton addressed a string of messages to the perplexed police pleading for them to hand over £140,000, first to charity and then to cover the cost of TV licenses for the elderly and underprivileged. The painting was subsequently found in a left luggage locker. Bunton was put on trial for five offenses, including stealing the painting and its frame. Eventually, Bunton was not found guilty of four counts but received a three-month prison term for stealing the picture frame.
The Love Letter By Carl Spitzweg
Stolen in 1989 | Still missing
On September 4, 1989, two men stole the painting from Berlin's Charlottenburg Palace. The Love Letter, along with Spitzweg's The Poor Poet, have disappeared since then. Allegedly, The Poor Poet was Hitler's favorite German painting.
The Conjurer By Hieronymus Bosch (Or His Workshop)
Stolen in 1978 | Retrieved two months later
According to The New York Times, The Conjurer was stolen from the museum of suburban St.‐Germain‐en‐Laye by two armed men in December 1978. Apparently, the painting somehow found its way into the hands of a detective, who held it for one night before returning it to the museum. Even though it was returned to the museum just two months after it was stolen, the painting is kept in a safe apart from sporadic loans to other museums and one annual public exhibition.
Self-Portrait By Giorgione
Stolen in 1983 | Retrieved in 2013
On November 5, 1983, unidentified assailants stormed into the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts. They stole seven precious artworks, including Giorgione's Self-Portrait. However, the so-called "Criminal Case of the Century" ultimately came to a happy conclusion when the offenders were caught, and the paintings were returned to their original locations. This and other paintings were recovered in Operation Budapest, a joint investigation between the Italian, Hungarian, and Greek police.