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A list of the most wanted stolen artworks that are still missing

Daryl Paranada Oct 25, 2010

On today’s show, Noah Carney, founding director of The Association for Research into Crimes against Art, talks with Kai Ryssdal about the most stolen art piece of all time — The Ghent Altarpiece, which has been a victim of theft seven different times.

Runner-up is Rembrandt’s “Portrait of Jacob de Gheyn,” stolen from the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London four times.

[**RELATED: See a slideshow of the most stolen artworks**]

Below, a list by Noah Carney of “The Most Wanted Stolen Art Still Missing:”

  •  Caravaggio's "Nativity with Saints Lawrence and Francis" (seen on the left) was stolen from the Church of San Lorenzo, in Palermo by Cosa Nostra in 1969. The theft prompted the foundation of the world's first art police, the Carabinieri Division for the Protection of Cultural Heritage in Italy.
  •   The Gardner Heist. Thirteen works, including Rembrandt's "Storm on the Sea of Galilee," Manet's "Chez Tortoni," and Vermeer's "The Concert" were stolen in 1990 from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  Their value is estimated at $500 million, making it the largest peace-time theft of anything in history.  All the works are still missing, although investigators think that the pieces are all still intact and will be recovered shortly...
  •   The Van Gogh Museum was the victim of theft in 2002 when two paintings were stolen in the night. The two paintings were "View of the Sea at Scheveningen" and "Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen." Two men were later convicted of the crime, but the paintings are still missing.
  •   The Emil Buehrle Collection was robbed by armed, masked thieves when the museum was full of tourists, in 2008. Four Impressionist works were ripped off the walls, only for two of them to show up soon after in an abandoned, unlocked car parked across the street from the museum. This was almost certainly the result of a ransom being paid, but two works -- "Count Lepic and His Daughters" by Degas and "The Boy in the Red Vest" by Cezanne (on the right) -- are still missing and no one has been convicted.
  •   Missing Nazi-looted art still rubs a raw nerve. The Nazi art theft unit, the ERR, stole tens of thousands of masterpieces during the Second World War, including the famous Ghent Altarpiece. Works were stolen on behalf of Nazi collectors like Hitler and Goring, but also were destined for Hitler's planned super museum, which would be the size of a city and would contain every important artwork ever made.  While thousands of works have been recovered -- often from remarkable hiding places like abandoned monasteries, castles, and salt mines -- thousands more are missing, including treasures such as Raphael's "Portrait of a Young Man" stolen by the Nazis from Krakow.

Read an excerpt from Noah Charney’s book “Stealing the Mystic Lamb.”

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