Dutch Art Detective Recovers Stolen Van Gogh

Image copyright: Wikimedia Commons

The Facts

  • 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.

The Spin

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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