BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Thursday, 17 November 2005, 14:00 GMT
FBI names top 10 world art crimes
By Vincent Dowd
BBC News

Madonna with the Yarnwinder - from Drumlanrig Castle website
Da Vinci's Madonna with the Yarnwinder was stolen in Scotland
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified what it has called the top 10 art crimes worldwide.

The FBI's list of stolen artworks includes paintings by Edvard Munch and Benevenuto Cellini, as well as thousands of items missing in Iraq.

The decision to set up an FBI Art Crimes Team in November 2004 was in part an acknowledgement of the obvious - that art crime is now big business.

By one estimation, transactions of $1bn to $2bn take place annually.

Compiled to mark the eight-strong team's first year in existence, the list shows what it is most interested in tracking down.

From 7,000 to 10,000 looted and stolen Iraqi artefacts, 2003
12 paintings stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 1990
Two Renoirs and one Rembrandt from Sweden's National Museum, 2000 (two recovered)
Munch's The Scream and The Madonna from the Munch Museum in Oslo, 2004
Benevenuto Cellini Salt Cellar from Vienna's Kunsthistorisches Museum, 2003
Caravaggio's Nativity with San Lorenzo and San Francesco from Palermo, 1969
Davidoff-Morini Stradivarius violin from a New York apartment, 1995
Two Van Gogh paintings from Amsterdam's Vincent Van Gogh Museum, 2002
Cezanne's View of Auvers-sur-Oise from Oxford's Ashmolean Museum, 1999
Leonardo's Madonna with the Yarnwinder from Scotland's Drumlanrig Castle, 2003
The FBI is not saying the items are necessarily in the US - although it is likely some of them are.

They range from a Stradivarius violin stolen from an apartment in New York a decade ago to Cezanne's View of Auvers-sur-Oise, taken from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford in 1999.

The list also includes the world-famous Edvard Munch painting The Scream, stolen in Oslo last year.

Although this list is dominated by paintings, the politics behind setting up the Art Crime Team had more to do with the theft of and international traffic in historical artefacts.

Thousands of items were looted in Iraq following the US-led invasion, and Washington has been under pressure to track down at least some of them.

Tightening the system of checking what the art world calls the "provenance" of items for sale in Europe and the US has helped a bit - but there are still many items missing.

What happens to stolen art?
23 Aug 04 |  Arts


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific