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Top 10 greatest art heists in history

March 20, 2015, 16:30 UTC+3
The biggest art heists ever committed in this photo gallery by TASS
1 pages in this article
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On May 20, 2010 the biggest art heist was committed in France. Five outstanding paintings were stolen from Paris Museum of Modern Art. They were Pablo Picasso's 'Le pigeon aux petit pois', Henri Matisse's 'La Pastorale', 'L'olivier pres de l'Estaque' by Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigliani's 'La femme a l'aventail', and 'Nature morte aux chandeliers by Fernand Leger
On May 20, 2010 the biggest art heist was committed in France. Five outstanding paintings were stolen from Paris Museum of Modern Art. They were Pablo Picasso's 'Le pigeon aux petit pois', Henri Matisse's 'La Pastorale', 'L'olivier pres de l'Estaque' by Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigliani's 'La femme a l'aventail', and 'Nature morte aux chandeliers by Fernand Leger
On May 20, 2010 the biggest art heist was committed in France. Five outstanding paintings were stolen from Paris Museum of Modern Art. They were Pablo Picasso's 'Le pigeon aux petit pois', Henri Matisse's 'La Pastorale', 'L'olivier pres de l'Estaque' by Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigliani's 'La femme a l'aventail', and 'Nature morte aux chandeliers by Fernand Leger
© EPA/ANDREA MEROLA
The overall value of the stolen paintings is estimated at $500 mln. Photo: Modigliani's 'La femme a l'aventail'
The overall value of the stolen paintings is estimated at $500 mln. Photo: Modigliani's 'La femme a l'aventail'
The overall value of the stolen paintings is estimated at $500 mln. Photo: Modigliani's 'La femme a l'aventail'
© EPA/ANDREA MEROLA
Before the Paris heist, the theft committed on March 18 1990 in Boston was considered the biggest. Thieves stole over a dozen paintings by such great artists as Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas from the private Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Before the Paris heist, the theft committed on March 18 1990 in Boston was considered the biggest. Thieves stole over a dozen paintings by such great artists as Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas from the private Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Before the Paris heist, the theft committed on March 18 1990 in Boston was considered the biggest. Thieves stole over a dozen paintings by such great artists as Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas from the private Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
© AP Photo/Lisa Bul
The damage was estimated at $300 mln. Neither of the paintings has been found yet. Photo: an FBI poster with an image of Rembrandt's 'Storm on the Sea of Galilee'
The damage was estimated at $300 mln. Neither of the paintings has been found yet. Photo: an FBI poster with an image of Rembrandt's 'Storm on the Sea of Galilee'
The damage was estimated at $300 mln. Neither of the paintings has been found yet. Photo: an FBI poster with an image of Rembrandt's 'Storm on the Sea of Galilee'
© AP Photo/FBI
The third biggest heist happened at Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 1991. The stolen paintings had an estimated value of $200 mln. The artworks were found soon after the heist, though three of the paintings were severely damaged, including the 'Wheatfield with Crows' (photo)
The third biggest heist happened at Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 1991. The stolen paintings had an estimated value of $200 mln. The artworks were found soon after the heist, though three of the paintings were severely damaged, including the 'Wheatfield with Crows' (photo)
The third biggest heist happened at Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 1991. The stolen paintings had an estimated value of $200 mln. The artworks were found soon after the heist, though three of the paintings were severely damaged, including the 'Wheatfield with Crows' (photo)
© AP Photo/Cris Toala Olivares
In February 2008 four masterpieces with an estimated value of $140 mln. were stolen from the G. E. Buehrle Collection museum. The stolen paintings were Claude Monet's 'Poppy Field at Vetheui', Edgar Degas' 'Count Lepic and His Daughters', Paul Cezanne's 'The boy in the red West', and Van Gogh's 'Blossoming Chestnut Branches.' Van Gogh's and Monet's paintings were later found
In February 2008 four masterpieces with an estimated value of $140 mln. were stolen from the G. E. Buehrle Collection museum. The stolen paintings were Claude Monet's 'Poppy Field at Vetheui', Edgar Degas' 'Count Lepic and His Daughters', Paul Cezanne's 'The boy in the red West', and Van Gogh's 'Blossoming Chestnut Branches.' Van Gogh's and Monet's paintings were later found
In February 2008 four masterpieces with an estimated value of $140 mln. were stolen from the G. E. Buehrle Collection museum. The stolen paintings were Claude Monet's 'Poppy Field at Vetheui', Edgar Degas' 'Count Lepic and His Daughters', Paul Cezanne's 'The boy in the red West', and Van Gogh's 'Blossoming Chestnut Branches.' Van Gogh's and Monet's paintings were later found
© AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Steffen Schmidt
Paul Cezanne's 'The boy in the red West' and Edgar Degas' 'Count Lepic and His Daughters' were never found
Paul Cezanne's 'The boy in the red West' and Edgar Degas' 'Count Lepic and His Daughters' were never found
Paul Cezanne's 'The boy in the red West' and Edgar Degas' 'Count Lepic and His Daughters' were never found
© AP Photo/Keystone/Stadtpolizei Zuerich/Foundation E.G. Buehrle Collection
On August 22, 2004 two of Edward Munch's paintings ('Madonna' and 'The Scream') were stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo. 'The Scream' is Munch's most famous painting worth over $80 mln.
On August 22, 2004 two of Edward Munch's paintings ('Madonna' and 'The Scream') were stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo. 'The Scream' is Munch's most famous painting worth over $80 mln.
On August 22, 2004 two of Edward Munch's paintings ('Madonna' and 'The Scream') were stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo. 'The Scream' is Munch's most famous painting worth over $80 mln.
© AP Photo/Stian Lysberg Solum / Scanpix Norway
Two years later the paintings were found. They were slightly damaged, and after two years of restoration they are today back at the museum
Two years later the paintings were found. They were slightly damaged, and after two years of restoration they are today back at the museum
Two years later the paintings were found. They were slightly damaged, and after two years of restoration they are today back at the museum
© AP Photo/Scanpix,Munch-Museet, Richard Jeffries
Benvenuto Cellini's golden salt tray 'Saliera' worth around $55 mln. was stolen in 2003. In 2006 it was found burried in a forest
Benvenuto Cellini's golden salt tray 'Saliera' worth around $55 mln. was stolen in 2003. In 2006 it was found burried in a forest
Benvenuto Cellini's golden salt tray 'Saliera' worth around $55 mln. was stolen in 2003. In 2006 it was found burried in a forest
© EPA/HANS KLAUS TECHT
Three of Pablo Picasso's works were stolen in 2007 from the apartment of his granddaughter Diana Widmaier Picasso. 'Maya and the Doll' (photo), 'Portrait of Jacqueline' and 'Marie-Therese at age 21', with their overall value estimated at $66 mln.) were found later the same year
Three of Pablo Picasso's works were stolen in 2007 from the apartment of his granddaughter Diana Widmaier Picasso. 'Maya and the Doll' (photo), 'Portrait of Jacqueline' and 'Marie-Therese at age 21', with their overall value estimated at $66 mln.) were found later the same year
Three of Pablo Picasso's works were stolen in 2007 from the apartment of his granddaughter Diana Widmaier Picasso. 'Maya and the Doll' (photo), 'Portrait of Jacqueline' and 'Marie-Therese at age 21', with their overall value estimated at $66 mln.) were found later the same year
© AP Photo/Succesion Picasso
On December 22, 2000, Rembrandt's self-portrait (photo) valued at $28 mln. was stolen from Sweden's National Museum. In 2005, the painting was found by the Danish police at a hotel in Copenhagen
On December 22, 2000, Rembrandt's self-portrait (photo) valued at $28 mln. was stolen from Sweden's National Museum. In 2005, the painting was found by the Danish police at a hotel in Copenhagen
On December 22, 2000, Rembrandt's self-portrait (photo) valued at $28 mln. was stolen from Sweden's National Museum. In 2005, the painting was found by the Danish police at a hotel in Copenhagen
© AP Photo/Copenhagen Police
Along with the self-portrait, the criminals stole two paintings by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir: 'Young Parisian' (photo) and 'Conversation with the Gardner', togethter valued at $36 mln. The latter was found in a drug useres' apartment in Stockholm
Along with the self-portrait, the criminals stole two paintings by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir: 'Young Parisian' (photo) and 'Conversation with the Gardner', togethter valued at $36 mln. The latter was found in a drug useres' apartment in Stockholm
Along with the self-portrait, the criminals stole two paintings by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir: 'Young Parisian' (photo) and 'Conversation with the Gardner', togethter valued at $36 mln. The latter was found in a drug useres' apartment in Stockholm
© AP Photo/Nick Ut
In December 2002, two famous paintings were stolen from Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. 'Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen' and 'View of the Sea at Scheveningen' (photo) are valued at $30 mln. The paintings are still missing
In December 2002, two famous paintings were stolen from Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. 'Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen' and 'View of the Sea at Scheveningen' (photo) are valued at $30 mln. The paintings are still missing
In December 2002, two famous paintings were stolen from Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. 'Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen' and 'View of the Sea at Scheveningen' (photo) are valued at $30 mln. The paintings are still missing
©  EPA PHOTO ANP / COMM
In October 1969 Caravaggio's 'Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco' was stolen from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo. The painting, worth $20 mln. was found in 2003. It had been hanging in a villa of a mafia boss for all those years
In October 1969 Caravaggio's 'Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco' was stolen from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo. The painting, worth $20 mln. was found in 2003. It had been hanging in a villa of a mafia boss for all those years
In October 1969 Caravaggio's 'Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco' was stolen from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo. The painting, worth $20 mln. was found in 2003. It had been hanging in a villa of a mafia boss for all those years
© Public domain
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On May 20, 2010 the biggest art heist was committed in France. Five outstanding paintings were stolen from Paris Museum of Modern Art. They were Pablo Picasso's 'Le pigeon aux petit pois', Henri Matisse's 'La Pastorale', 'L'olivier pres de l'Estaque' by Georges Braque, Amedeo Modigliani's 'La femme a l'aventail', and 'Nature morte aux chandeliers by Fernand Leger
© EPA/ANDREA MEROLA
The overall value of the stolen paintings is estimated at $500 mln. Photo: Modigliani's 'La femme a l'aventail'
© EPA/ANDREA MEROLA
Before the Paris heist, the theft committed on March 18 1990 in Boston was considered the biggest. Thieves stole over a dozen paintings by such great artists as Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas from the private Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
© AP Photo/Lisa Bul
The damage was estimated at $300 mln. Neither of the paintings has been found yet. Photo: an FBI poster with an image of Rembrandt's 'Storm on the Sea of Galilee'
© AP Photo/FBI
The third biggest heist happened at Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 1991. The stolen paintings had an estimated value of $200 mln. The artworks were found soon after the heist, though three of the paintings were severely damaged, including the 'Wheatfield with Crows' (photo)
© AP Photo/Cris Toala Olivares
In February 2008 four masterpieces with an estimated value of $140 mln. were stolen from the G. E. Buehrle Collection museum. The stolen paintings were Claude Monet's 'Poppy Field at Vetheui', Edgar Degas' 'Count Lepic and His Daughters', Paul Cezanne's 'The boy in the red West', and Van Gogh's 'Blossoming Chestnut Branches.' Van Gogh's and Monet's paintings were later found
© AP Photo/KEYSTONE/Steffen Schmidt
Paul Cezanne's 'The boy in the red West' and Edgar Degas' 'Count Lepic and His Daughters' were never found
© AP Photo/Keystone/Stadtpolizei Zuerich/Foundation E.G. Buehrle Collection
On August 22, 2004 two of Edward Munch's paintings ('Madonna' and 'The Scream') were stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo. 'The Scream' is Munch's most famous painting worth over $80 mln.
© AP Photo/Stian Lysberg Solum / Scanpix Norway
Two years later the paintings were found. They were slightly damaged, and after two years of restoration they are today back at the museum
© AP Photo/Scanpix,Munch-Museet, Richard Jeffries
Benvenuto Cellini's golden salt tray 'Saliera' worth around $55 mln. was stolen in 2003. In 2006 it was found burried in a forest
© EPA/HANS KLAUS TECHT
Three of Pablo Picasso's works were stolen in 2007 from the apartment of his granddaughter Diana Widmaier Picasso. 'Maya and the Doll' (photo), 'Portrait of Jacqueline' and 'Marie-Therese at age 21', with their overall value estimated at $66 mln.) were found later the same year
© AP Photo/Succesion Picasso
On December 22, 2000, Rembrandt's self-portrait (photo) valued at $28 mln. was stolen from Sweden's National Museum. In 2005, the painting was found by the Danish police at a hotel in Copenhagen
© AP Photo/Copenhagen Police
Along with the self-portrait, the criminals stole two paintings by French impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir: 'Young Parisian' (photo) and 'Conversation with the Gardner', togethter valued at $36 mln. The latter was found in a drug useres' apartment in Stockholm
© AP Photo/Nick Ut
In December 2002, two famous paintings were stolen from Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. 'Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen' and 'View of the Sea at Scheveningen' (photo) are valued at $30 mln. The paintings are still missing
©  EPA PHOTO ANP / COMM
In October 1969 Caravaggio's 'Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco' was stolen from the Oratory of San Lorenzo in Palermo. The painting, worth $20 mln. was found in 2003. It had been hanging in a villa of a mafia boss for all those years
© Public domain

On March 20 a French court found a former electrician and his wife guilty of hiding 271 works by renowned Spanis artist Pablo Picasso. Pierre Le Guennec, 75, claimed that the works that he had been keeping in his garage from some 40 years were given to him by Picasso's last wife Jacqueline when he was working at the artist's house in the early 1970s. However, Picasso's son Claude said his father would have never given his works to a stranger.

The collection of Picasso's works created between 1900 and 1932 is estimated at 100 million euros. Le Guennec and his wife Danielle were facing up to five years in jail but the court in the southern city of Grasse gave them a two-year suspended sentence wrapping up the case that made headlines across the globe.

According to the Interpol, art theft is the third most profitable crime after drug and arms trade. The biggest art heist in history was committed in Paris in 2010. Five outstanding paintings by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Fernand Leger and Georges Braque with an overall value of around $500 million were stolen from Paris Museum of Modern Art.

Learn about other art heists in this photo gallery by TASS.

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