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Dutch Art Detective Recovers Stolen Vincent Van Gogh Painting

Van Gogh Painting Recovered

Posted: September 14, 2023 at 8:08 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

A Dutch art detective has recovered a missing Van Gogh painting stolen from a museum during the lockdown in 2020.

Arthur Brand, an art crime detective, announced the recovery of the missing painting, “The Parsonage Garden,” in Nuenen. He returned the painting to the Groninger Museum director, Andreas Blum, who thanked Brand in a Facebook post for his role in the search.

Blum stated that the artwork would be scientifically examined in the coming months. The museum expressed extreme happiness and relief that the artwork was back. However, before the painting is put back on display, it “could take weeks, if not months.”

“Indiana Jones” Tracks Down The Van Gogh

Brand, popularly known as the “Indiana Jones of the Art World” for tracking down some of the world’s greatest masterpieces, said in an Instagram post that he worked closely with the Dutch police to recover the art piece. It was painted in 1884 and stolen on March 30, 2020, Van Gogh’s birthday, from the Singer Laren Museum.

According to a video the Dutch police have made public, the thief entered through a glass door in the night. He then fled, carrying the painting under his arm.

A 58-year-old man identified as Nils M. was arrested in Baarn, Netherlands, in April 2021 as a suspect. He was later sentenced to 8 years in jail for the theft of the Van Gogh. He was also convicted of the theft of another masterpiece by Frans Hals, “Two Laughing Boys,” in another heist.

Despite the arrest, the painting was not recovered. For the next few years, the painting circulated in the criminal world, according to intercepted communications, as the BBC reported.

Brand told the AFP news agency that after a few months, he had heard from a source in the criminal world who had bought the Van Gogh. This man, identified only as Peter Roy K, was already in jail after being convicted of importing and exporting cocaine.

K. wanted to use the painting as a bargaining chip to get a reduced sentence, but no deal would be made.

Mystery Man Returns the Painting, Saying It Had Caused “A Massive Headache”

The Van Gogh remained missing until two weeks ago when Brand received a phone call from a mysterious man. He said he “had nothing to do with the theft” and was persuaded to return the artwork after some negotiation.

“The man told me,” Brand said, ” ‘I want to return the Van Gogh. It has caused a massive headache.'”

“In an operation done in close coordination with the Dutch police, we got the painting back,” Brand stated.

The man handed the painting in a blue IKEA bag, covered with bubble wrap and stuffed in a pillow casing. Brand told AFP that confirming the painting was the missing Van Gogh was “one of the greatest moments of my life.”

Brand’s earlier successes included the recovery of a stolen Roman statue last year, a Picasso painting, and the bronze statues known as Picasso’s Paintings.

Frans Hals’ “Two Laughing Boys” remains missing, but Brand said he hoped that the painting would also be returned soon.

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