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25 Famous Paintings That Have Been Stolen in the Past

 Many paintings in Western and European art have truly earned a place in history. They stand hanging on the walls of museums for all to see, or as treasured possessions in the homes of collectors. Most of these truly prized works of art have a long and illustrious history, passing from owner to owner. However, some of these masterpieces have ended up in the homes of people they didn’t belong to. Some, like the Mona Lisa, have been recovered, while others have been lost or destroyed, the spoils of war and plunder. These are 25 famous paintings that were at one point or the other in the wrong hands and where they are now. 

1. Saint Jerome Writing, by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Saint Jerome Writing, by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

(By Caravaggio, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1984
Recovered in: 1988
Current Status: Returned to St. John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta, where the painting damaged by the burglary was restored in 1990.

 

2. La Clairière by Auguste Renoir 

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, La Clairière by Auguste Renoir

(By Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1987
Recovered in: 2009
Current Status: Returned to Maastricht, Netherlands, after being recovered along with 8 other paintings stolen from art dealer Robert Noortman.

 

3. Bords de la Seine à Bougival by Camille Pissarro

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Bords de la Seine à Bougival by Camille Pissarro

(By Camille Pissarro, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1987
Recovered in: 2009
Current Status: Returned to Maastricht, Netherlands, after being recovered along with 8 other paintings stolen from art dealer Robert Noortman.

 

4. Rest on the Flight into Egypt (Titian) by Titian

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Rest on the Flight into Egypt (Titian) by Titian

(By Titian, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1995
Recovered in: 2002
Current Status: Returned to the Longleat House, UK.  

 

5. Conversation by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Conversation by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

(By Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2000
Recovered in: 2001
Current Status: Returned to the National Museum, Stockholm, after being surprisingly recovered in a drug raid. 

 

6. Count Lepic and His Daughters by Edgar Degas 

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Count Lepic and His Daughters by Edgar Degas

(By Edgar Degas, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2008
Recovered in: 2012
Current Status: Returned to Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zürich, Switzerland, after being recovered with three other stolen paintings.

 

7. Self-portrait with Beret and Gathered Shirt (‘stilus mediocris’) by Rembrandt  

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Self-portrait with Beret and Gathered Shirt (‘stilus mediocris’) by Rembrandt

(By Rembrandt, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2000
Recovered in: 2005
Current Status: Returned to the National museum, Stockholm, after being stolen along with 2 Renoir paintings in an armed robbery.

 

8. View of the Sea at Scheveningen by Vincent van Gogh

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, View of the Sea at Scheveningen by Vincent van Gogh

(By Vincent van Gogh, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2002
Recovered in: 2016
Current Status: Returned to the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, after being stolen as part of a $30 million heist.

 

9. Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh

(By Vincent van Gogh, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2002
Recovered in: 2016
Current Status: Returned to the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, after being stolen as part of a $30 million heist.

 

10. The Scream (Der Schrei der Natur) by Edvard Munch

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, The Scream (Der Schrei der Natur) by Edvard Munch

(By Edvard Munch, Wikimedia Commons)   

Stolen In: First in 1994, and then again in 2004
Recovered in: First in 1994, and then again in 2006
Current Status: First returned to the National Gallery, Oslo, in 1994 and then returned to the Munch Museum, Oslo, in 2006.

 

11. Les Choristes by Edgar Degas

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Les Choristes by Edgar Degas 

(By Edgar Degas, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2009
Recovered in: 2018
Current Status: Returned to Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France, after being stolen while on loan to Musée Cantini, Marseille. 

 

12. Portrait of a Lady by Gustav Klimt

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Portrait of a Lady by Gustav Klimt

(By Gustav Klimt, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1997 
Recovered in: 2019 
Current Status: Returned to exhibition of Galleria Ricci-Oddi, Piacenza, Italy, after being hidden for 23 year in a wall in Placenza. 

13. The Gardener (or, Young Peasant) by Vincent van Gogh

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, The Gardener (or, Young Peasant) by Vincent van Gogh

(By Vincent van Gogh, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1998
Recovered in: 1998
Current Status: Returned to the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome within a few weeks. 

 

14. The Boy in the Red Vest by Paul Cézanne

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, The Boy in the Red Vest by Paul Cézanne

(By Paul Cézanne, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2008
Recovered in: 2012
Current Status: Returned to Foundation E.G. Bührle, Zürich, Switzerland.

 

15. Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

(By Leonardo da Vinci, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1911
Recovered in: 1913
Current Location: Returned to the Musée du Louvre, Paris, when thief Vincenzo Peruggia, was caught trying to sell it.

 

16. Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael

(By Raphael, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen: Plundered by Nazis in Poland in the 1940s
Recovered: Falsely reported as recovered in 2012
Current Location: Still unknown.

 

17. Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt 

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I by Gustav Klimt

(By Gustav Klimt, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen: Plundered by Nazis in Austria in the 1940’s
Recovered: Early 2000’s 
Current Location: Returned to the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer Maria Altmann by the country of Austria in a 2005 US Supreme Court Case.

 

18. The Painter on His Way to Work by Vincent Van Gogh 

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, The Painter on His Way to Work by Vincent Van Gogh

(By Vincent van Gogh, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1945 by Nazis from the Stassfurt salt mines art repository 
Recovered in: N/A
Current Location: Unknown, listed officially as missing on the Monuments Men Foundation 'Most Wanted' website.

 

19. Girl in Front of Open Window (Femme devant une fenêtre ouverte, also known as La Fiancée, 1888) by Paul Gauguin 

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Girl in Front of Open Window (Femme devant une fenêtre ouverte, also known as La Fiancée, 1888) by Paul Gauguin

(By Paul Gauguin, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2012
Recovered in: N/A
Current Location: Unknown, presumed to have been burnt by an accomplice of the theft. 

 

20. Le pigeon aux petits pois by Pablo Picasso

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Le pigeon aux petits pois by Pablo Picasso

(By Pablo Picasso, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2010
Recovered in: N/A 
Current Location: Unknown, one of five paintings stolen from the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France, believed to have been discarded by the thief before it could be recovered.

 

21. Landscape with Cottages by Rembrandt van Rijn

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Landscape with Cottages by Rembrandt van Rijn

(By Rembrandt, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1972, from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada by armed robbers
Recovered in: N/A
Current Location: Unknown, with $50,000 reward offered for recovery. 

 

22. The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt van Rijn

(By Rembrandt, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1990 from Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Recovered in: N/A
Current Location: Unknown, with $10,000,000 reward offered for recovery. 

 

23. Landscape with an Obelisk by Govert Flinck

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Landscape with an Obelisk by Govert Flinck

(By Govert Flinck, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 1990 from Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Recovered in: N/A
Current Location: Unknown, with a $10,000,000 reward offered for recovery. 

 

24. Poppy Flowers by Vincent van Gogh

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, Poppy Flowers by Vincent van Gogh

(By Vincent van Gogh, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2010, Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Recovered in: N/A
Current Location: Unknown, with a $10,000,000 reward offered for recovery. 

 

25. The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh 

Famous works of art and paintings from all over the world that were stolen and either recovered, destroyed or remain lost or missing, The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen by Vincent van Gogh

(By Vincent van Gogh, Wikimedia Commons)  

Stolen In: 2020 from the Singer Laren museum, Laren, the Netherlands
Recovered in: N/A
Current Location: Unknown. 

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