Rogues' gallery: A look at art recovered after major thefts


Two paintings by Vincent van Gogh have gone back on display in Amsterdam, more than 14 years after thieves ripped them off the walls of the Van Gogh Museum during a daring nighttime raid.

Italian police discovered the paintings, "View of the Sea at Scheveningen," and "Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen," during a raid last September targeting Italian mobsters.

A look at some other artworks that have been recovered after being stolen in Europe:

▪ February 2008: Three men, wearing ski masks and dark clothing, entered the Buehrle museum in Zurich a half-hour before closing on a Sunday. While one used a pistol to force museum personnel to the floor, the two others swiped four paintings by Cezanne, Degas, Van Gogh and Monet worth $163 million. Shocked police called it one of the biggest heists in European history. The Van Gogh and Monet paintings were recovered in 2010.

▪ 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.

▪ August 2004: Two Edvard Munch masterpieces, "The Scream" and "Madonna," were stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, by three men wielding firearms in a daylight raid. The thieves forced the museum guards to lie down on the floor while they stole the works and fled in a car, which police later found abandoned. The paintings, insured for $141 million, were recovered with little damage two years later.

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

▪ 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.

▪ November 1983: Seven Italian Renaissance masterpieces were stolen from the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest, Hungary. Experts estimated the paintings' value at $7 million. All of the paintings, which included works by Raphael and Tintoretto, were recovered within a year. Some were found in a sack that had been pulled from the Danube River.

▪ October 1982: Eight paintings were stolen from the Norwegian National Gallery in Oslo. Seven of them, which were valued at $5.55 million and included masterpieces by Picasso, Rembrandt and Van Gogh, were recovered almost two years later near Frankfurt, Germany.

▪ April 1974: Jan Vermeer's "Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid" was among the 19 paintings stolen from the home of Sir Alfred Beit in County Wicklow, Ireland. The paintings, recovered eight days after the theft, were valued at $19.2 million, including $6.9 million for the Vermeer.

▪ August 1911: Arguably the most famous painting in the world, Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," was stolen from the Louvre in Paris. It was recovered in Italy two years later. Vincenzo Perruggia, an employee of the Paris museum, served a year and 15 days in prison for the theft.