Francis Bacon by Lucian Freud
Both giants of the 20th century art world, Freud – grandson of Sigmund – and Bacon were friends for a time, frequenting the drinking dens of London’s Soho district, although they were later to fall out. Freud painted Bacon in 1952. The piece, just 7 inches by 5 inches, was stolen in 1998 from Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie. The robbery took place during a visit by a party of students and the painting was apparently just snatched from the wall. Freud consequently created a wanted poster that was distributed in Berlin.
Le Pigeon aux Petits Pois by Pablo Picasso
This 1911 Picasso painting was stolen from the prestigious Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in an audacious 2010 robbery, during which five high-value artworks were taken. What’s more, the perpetrator, a “heavily disguised, burly figure” captured by CCTV cameras, seemingly acted alone. Neither the Picasso nor the other paintings have ever been recovered.
The Just Judges by Hubert and Jan van Eyck
The Just Judges is one panel from a series of paintings by Hubert and Jan van Eyck from the 15th century, collectively titled the Ghent Altarpiece or the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb. According to The Guardian, over the centuries this work was almost burnt, before being stolen by Napoleon and later coveted by Hitler. The panel, one of 12, was subsequently stolen in 1934 and has not been seen since.