Art of the Heist


Art of the Heist uses detailed and dramatic reconstructions to give a crook's-eye view of the planning and execution of some of the world's most daring thefts. Each episode emphasizes a headline-making art heist, examining how some of the world's greatest art treasures, including masterpieces by Munch, Cezanne, Vermeer, Renoir and Rembrandt, were snatched from the world's most prestigious and well-protected museums. Accounting for over $6 billion in annual losses, art theft is one of the world's largest and most intriguing criminal enterprises. Art of the Heist investigates the most high profile art thefts in recent history and fits together the pieces of the crime jigsaw to explain how the masterpieces were stolen and eventually recovered. Containing intimate interviews with the museum curators, guards, thieves and detectives involved, Art of the Heist takes us on intriguing and dramatic journeys that even Hollywood couldn't match.

Episode Description


The Big Sting

Three masterpieces by Renoir and Rembrandt worth $80 million are stolen in a daylight raid on the National Museum in Stockholm


The World's Biggest Heist

$500 million worth of art, including rare works by Vermeer and Rembrandt is taken from a Boston gallery in a single night


The Forger and the Conman

The devious tale of John Myatt, art teacher and master forger; and John Drewe, expert provenance faker


The Search for The Scream

The unsolved mystery of the 2004 theft of Edvard Munch's iconic painting, The Scream


Chasing Cezanne

The twists, turns and double-dealing behind the thirty-year mystery of the lost Cezanne still life


Den of Antiquities

The American art dealer who bought Cypriot mosaics from a Greek Orthodox church, sold by Turkish looters
Episode Description


The Lady in Gold

Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bioch-Bauer was one of the most famous paintings of the twentieth century. But in March 1938 it was seized by the Nazis. This episode traces the history of this extraordinary and iconic painting from its commission, through the legal battles, to its final sale to the billionaire cosmetics heir Ronald Lauder for a staggering $135 million.


The Pharaoh’s Head

In 1994 the head of Scotland Yard’s Art squad was called to the British Museum to investigate a case of suspected stolen Egyptian artefacts. His trail led him to a small village in Devon, where he uncovered a treasure chest of looted art made up of over three thousand pieces.


Miami Sting

In a quiet gallery in a small town in northern Spain two Rubens paintings are lifted by a mysterious robber. Art of the Heist tells the dramatic story of an elaborate sting operation in Miami in which one of the worlds’s leading experts in Rubens puts his life on the line to recover precious paintings.


The Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa

On a summers day in 1911 a man walked into the Louvre, took the Mona Lisa off the wall and walked out. He had stolen the world’s most famous painting as thousands of people queued to see the empty space the painting had left. This episode follows the trail of the eccentric thief who undetected , left France trying to return the Da Vinci painting to Florence where he thought it belonged.


The Russian Conspiracy

More than two hundred items, including jewellery and precious enamels, were discovered missing during a routine inventory check at the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Suspiciously, the head of the department from which the pieces were stolen was soon found dead at her desk. Was it murder? Was she involved in the theft and had their only lead just died?


On the Trail of the Moche Gold

In 1988 a glittering golden headdress was looted from an ancient tomb in the desert of northern Peru. The octopus headdress with eight Medusa like tentacles belonged to one of the Moche lords, a sophisticated culture that pre-dated the Incas. Art of the Heist follows the trail of the headdress from Peru to Spain to Germany and eventually to London in a story of murder and intrigue.


The Disappeared

In 1980, 16 Paintings and drawings & seven ancient pieces of art were stolen from the National Art Gallery in Buenos Aires. This complex heist involved questionable charitable organisations, a Texan blonde and artworks that may have been used to fund the Falklands War. We are taken on a journey from London to Taiwan to Buenos Aires in search of a mouth watering collection including Cezanne,Degas,Renoir and Matisse.


The Thieving Don Juan

At four in the morning, one of the most important gold sculptures from the Renaissance is discovered stolen from the Museum of Art History in Vienna. Its insurance value is a cool $65 million. After three years the Police finally discovered who stole the sculpture, Not a Balkan warlord as initially thought but a strikingly handsome fifty year old security alarm expert from Vienna with an eye for the ladies-as well as renaissance art.