As authorities seek help in finding Boston art, a look at some major thefts in recent years

BOSTON – Authorities announced this week that they believe they know who stole 13 pieces of artwork worth as much as $500 million from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990. A look at some of the biggest and most brazen art thefts in recent times:

— October 2012: Thieves broke into the Kunsthal art gallery in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and stole seven works by artists, including Picasso, Monet, Gauguin and Matisse, potentially worth hundreds of millions of euros if sold legally.

— May 2010: A lone thief stole five paintings estimated to be worth $123 million, including works by Picasso and Matisse, in a brazen overnight heist at a Paris modern art museum.

— February 2008: Armed robbers stole four paintings by Cezanne, Degas, van Gogh and Monet worth $163.2 million from the E.G. Buehrle Collection, a private museum in Zurich, Switzerland. The paintings were recovered.

— February 2007: Two Picasso paintings, worth nearly $66 million, and a drawing were stolen from the Paris home of the artist’s granddaughter in an overnight robbery. Police recovered the art when the thieves tried to sell it.

— February 2006: Four works of art and other objects, including paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Monet and Salvador Dali, were stolen from the Museu Chacara do Ceu, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by four armed men during a Carnival parade. Local media estimated the paintings’ worth at around $50 million.

— August 2004: Two paintings by Edvard Munch, “The Scream” and “Madonna,” insured for $141 million, were stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, by three men in a daylight raid. The paintings were recovered nearly two years later.

— August 2003: A $65 million Leonardo da Vinci painting was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in southern Scotland after two men joined a public tour and overpowered a guide. It was recovered four years later.

— December 2002: Two thieves broke in through the roof of the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and stole two paintings by van Gogh valued at $30 million. Dutch police convicted two men in December 2003, but did not recover the paintings.

— December 2000: Hooded thieves stole a self-portrait by Rembrandt and two Renoir paintings worth an estimated $36 million from Stockholm’s waterfront National Museum, using a motorboat in their escape. All paintings were recovered.


AP News Researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this report.