Dutch Art Detective Recovers Stolen Van Gogh

    Dutch Art Detective Recovers Stolen Van Gogh
    Last updated Sep 12, 2023
    Image credit: Wikimedia Commons


    • A 139-year-old Van Gogh painting stolen from the Singer Laren museum in the Dutch town of Laren has been returned following the work of Dutch art detective Arthur Brand.
    • The painting, named The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring, is worth between €3M-€6M (US$3.2M-$6.4 M). The painting was returned to Brand in a blue Ikea bag from an individual whose name has not been revealed.
    • Brand, who has been previously termed the "Indiana Jones of the Art World," described the recovery of the painting as "one of the greatest moments of my life." The detective worked alongside Dutch police on the case.
    • In April 2021 a suspect was arrested and consequently found guilty for stealing both the Van Gogh painting as well as a Frans Hals painting from Leerdam. The art thief was sentenced to eight years in prison.
    • The art detective claimed that the man who returned the painting had "nothing to do with [its] theft." It is believed that the painting had been intended as a bargaining tool in order to gain a reduced sentence for separate charges.
    • The Groninger Museum stated that while the painting had "suffered," it was in "good shape" at "first sight." It was added that the piece would remain at the Amsterdam Van Gogh Museum for a period of time between weeks and months before it is returned.


    Narrative A

    Theft has remained a consistent problem in the art world since the dawn of civilization and spans from museums to art galleries to private collections. With the art market's value continuing to grow, the incentives to steal and engage in "art laundering" are only becoming more enticing. Enhanced security systems and improved legal protocols must be implemented if we are ever to see any change.

    Narrative B

    Art theft is a major crime, but it's immensely hard to sell a stolen masterpiece after a heist. If art thieves realized how hard it was to sell what they had stolen there would be far fewer art thefts in the world. This genre of larceny is not a cost-effective activity for most criminals.

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