7 Most Famous Works of Art Lost Forever

The problem with some of the most wonderful works of art made through history is their irreplaceability. The Colossus of Rhodes, destroyed in an Earthquake; Vermeer’s The Concert and John Banvard’s Mississippi River Panorama, among others, came in a time when art couldn’t be replicated, and so their uniqueness is gone for all eternity.

The Colossus of Rhodes

The Colossus of Rhodes

A Greek statue of the Titan Helios and was erected on the island of Rhodes by Chares of Lindos, from 292 to 280 BC, constructed to celebrate a victory over the ruler of Cyprus. It stood nearly 99 feet high, but it was destroyed in an earquake on 226 BC.

Johannes Vermeer’s “The Concert”

Johannes Vermeer's The Concert

The heist of The Concert is considered to be the most famous in history. The painting alone is worth over $200 million. It was stolen in 1990, from the Isabelle Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston, along with thirteen other works of art, never to be seen again.

Claude Monet’s “Water Lilies”

Water lillies

The New York City’s Museum of Modern Art purchased two of Claude Monet’s Water Lillies painting in 1957, only to lose them both a year later, as a fire that broke out destroyed an eighteen-foot-long “Water Lilies” painting, along with a smaller version.

Sutherland’s Portrait of Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

To celebrate Winston Churchill’s 80th birthday, a full-length portrait of the British prime minister was commissioned, with the task falling upon the hands of Graham Sunderland. The portrait was revealed in 1954, with both Chruchill and his wife not pleased with the result, which displayed him as his real self, instead of a more flattering version. It was taken to their conutry home, but after the death of his wife, it was revealed that she had destroyed the painting years ago.

John Banvard’s Mississippi River Panorama

John Banvard's Mississippi River Panorama

John Banvard had a grandiose idea of creating a huge panorama of the Mississippi river; he travelled up & down the river for months, and the finished work was 12 feet high and a mile and a half long. Towards the end of the 19th century, the panorama was cut into several pieces for storage, and the pieces have never been recovered.

Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Painter on His Way to Work”

Van Gogh

Van Gogh actually has six paintings that are known to be lost forever. “The Painter on his Way to Work” was housed in the Kaiser-Friedrich Museum in Berlin before being destroyed by fire during World War II. One of his many self-portraits, this one descirbes him on the road to Montmajour in 1888.

Picasso’s “The Painter”

The Painter

Due to the crash of Swissair Flight 111 off Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on September 2, 1998, this $1.5 million painting by Picasso has been lost for eternity, along with almost a half a billion dollars worth of precious diamonds and other jewels. All two hundred and twenty-nine passangers aboard the aircraft were killed.  Though ninety-eight percent of the plane was recovered from the water, only about twenty centimeters of the Picasso work were located.