The world's major art thefts: AFP Report

AFP, Monday 12 Aug 2013

The past decade has witnessed a number of major art thefts, with masterpieces by the likes of Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and many others snatched from museums and galleries from Paris to Zurich to Cairo

Major art thefts around the world over the past decade, as the trial of six Romanians accused of stealing seven masterpieces from a Dutch museum last October is set to open on Tuesday in Bucharest:

October 16, 2012: Seven masterpieces, including works by Picasso, Matisse, Monet and Gauguin, were stolen in a pre-dawn heist at Rotterdam's Kunsthal museum. Prosecutors say the paintings were worth 18 million euros ($24 million), although experts initially put their collective value at up to 100 million euros.

August 21, 2010: Van Gogh's "Poppy Flowers", worth $55 million, was stolen from Cairo's Mahmoud Khalil museum after it is cut out of its frame. It has yet to be found.

May 20, 2010: A lone thief stole works by Matisse, Picasso and three other modern masters from a Paris gallery as it emerged that an alarm was out of order at the time of the 100 million euro heist. The works are still missing.

February 10, 2008: Four paintings by Cezanne, Degas, Van Gogh and Monet valued at more than 112 million euros were stolen from a museum in Zurich, Switzerland. The Van Gogh and the Monet were later recovered; the other two have not been found.

August 5, 2007: Two Bruegels, a Sisley and a Monet, all considered priceless, were stolen from the Jules Cheret museum in Nice, France. They were recovered the following year. In December 2011, a French court convicted five men arrested in an FBI sting and sentenced them to between two and nine years.

February 25, 2006: Works by Salvador Dali, Picasso, Matisse and Monet, estimated at $54 million, were taken from the Chacara do Ceu museum during the annual carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They have not been recovered.

August 22, 2004: Edvard Munch's masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna", valued at 80 million euros, were stolen from an Oslo museum. They were recovered damaged in 2006.

December 7, 2002: Two Van Goghs, valued at several million euros, were stolen from the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. The pieces have so far not been found.

In addition, in March 1990, 13 works of art were lifted from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, including rare paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer. The total value of the haul was estimated at a record $500 million. In March 2013 the authorities said they had identified the thieves, but that it was too late to prosecute as the statute of limitations had run out.
The most dramatic theft was probably that of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, stolen from the Louvre in Paris on August 21, 1911. It was found in December 1913.

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