There have been hundreds of paintings that have gone missing over the years, whether due to war, theft, or an amount of other untold reasons. These paintings were classics or craved by those who admired an artist’s work. There are some that are only worth a few dollars, but others have risen into the millions.
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We have compiled a list of ten expensive paintings that have been missing for years. These paintings are majestic in their own way and from several different periods throughout time. Keep reading to learn more about ten expensive paintings that have been missing for years!
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10 The Storm on the Sea of Galilea by Rembrandt – $100 Million
This famous painting was stolen back in 1990 from an art museum in Boston, Massachusetts. Two men impersonated police officers and tied up the security within the museum, while they stole this famous painting. They stole twelve other masterpieces along with this one. This was originally painted back in 1633 and even though the FBI has been searching for this painting for years, they have still not had any luck in finding it. It was Rembrandt’s only seascape, and now it is lost to the world forever.
9 Le Pigeon aux Petits Pois by Pablo Picasso – $28 Million
This painting was stolen from an art museum in Paris back in 2010 after a single intruder disabled the security system. The masked man also stole four other pieces of art, but this is the most memorable of them all. The thief managed to steal the paintings in fifteen minutes, even though there were security guards on duty that night. There has been speculation the thief did not work alone, regardless of what the cameras are saying, but so far no evidence has been found to crack the case.
8 Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco by Caravaggio – $20 Million
This painting was stolen back in 1969 from the San Lorenzo Conservatory in Italy. This painting is still being searched for by the FBI and has yet to be recovered. It was suspected the mafia was behind the theft and its members came up with some imaginative tellings of its fate, but the police refused to believe them. There is a more recent claim that the painting was cut into pieces, but there are others who still are unbelieving of the theory due to other evidence in the case. We can only hope that this piece of history may one day be recovered.
7 Madeleine Leaning on Her Elbow with Flowers in Her Hair by Pierre Auguste Renoir – $1 Million
The oil painting pictured was stolen back in 2011 during an armed robbery, and currently, there is a $50,000 reward for the person who returns the painting to its original owner. It was originally painted back in 1918 and it was stolen with the frame still intact from its home in Houston, Texas. It has still not been recovered, but many suspect it will be sold in a large city or taken overseas, but the FBI is on the lookout and hope to find it soon.
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6 Poppy Flowers by Vincent Van Gogh – $50 Million
This painting has been missing since 2010, but it was surprisingly already stolen and returned once before. It was taken both times from the Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum in Cairo, Egypt and the second theft was blamed on poor security. The museum had only an average of ten visitors a day, and yet the thief is still out there and the painting has still not been recovered. It leads people to question why this painting has been so accessible, considering its value and the number of people who crave to sell it on the black market.
5 White Duck by Jean-Baptiste Oudry – $8.8 Million
This painting was stolen back in 1992 and the burglar was well trained in the art of deception. He used smoke to prevent the cameras from seeing anything while he cut the painting out of the canvas and made his grand escape. It was assumed it made it into the hands of a local gypsy gang as a part of an underground deal and has never been seen again. We can only imagine where it may have ended up and we hope that one day this piece of history may be recovered once again.
4 The Concert by Vermeer – $200 Million
This is the second most expensive painting that has gone missing and was a part of a major art heist that left the world calling for vengeance. This was painted sometime in the 1660s and was at the midpoint of Vermeer’s career. He died young, so his works are less plentiful then other artists of his day, but it is also the reason for the high price tag. The profoundness of this image is what draws people in and makes them feel something, which is another reason why the art community hopes to see its return.
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3 Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Murals 3A & 3B by Maxfield Parrish – $4 Million
This theft back in 2002 from the Edenhurst Gallery when a thief climbed in through a hole in the roof. The paintings took four years for the artist to create and were meant to be situated in Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s home in Long Island. It was a devastating blow to Hollywood when this artwork was stolen from the museum and it was a professional job. It is suspected that they were sold somewhere in Asia and the collector who owned them suspects he will never see them again.
2 View of Auvers-sur-Oise by Cézanne – $3 Million
This masterpiece was stolen at midnight of the new year in January of 2000. It was stolen from the University of Oxford’s museum. This theft was different from others because it was carried out by a professional who knew exactly what they were doing. The thief used the construction scaffolding to reach a skylight and then released a rope that he slid down to enter the museum. He threw a smoke canister and triggered the fire alarm to make it appear like a fire, but after authorities checked the area, they deemed only this painting had gone missing.
1 Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci – $450 Million
This painting is the newest expensive piece of art to be stolen and it was stolen just this year from the Louvre Abu Dhabi. It might not have been missing for years, but it is still worth mentioning due to the exorbitant price it went for at auction. It was missing before and was restored before it was bought at auction, and now its disappearance has raised questions to its new whereabouts. This masterpiece from the 1500s is priceless and we can only hope for its safe return.
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