Stolen Van Gogh Anonymously Returned to Dutch Museum

Stolen Van Gogh, the 1884 Painting Which Went Missing From a Netherlands Museum Three Years Ago, Goes on Public Display in March.

Feb 9, 2024By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
Stolen Van Gogh
‘Spring Garden’ back in the Groninger Museum. Via Wikipedia


Stolen Van Gogh returns to the Netherlands’ Singer Laren Museum in March. Overall, the 1884 piece went missing three years ago, through a spectacular late-night smash-and-grab. This happened when the COVID-19 epidemic forced galleries, museums, and retail establishments to close to the public.


Stolen Van Gogh Has an Extensive White Scuff

Winter Garden (“Wintertuin”), pencil and ink drawing, March 1884, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam. Via Wikipedia


This week, the Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring appeared at an announcement ceremony held at the Groninger Museum. The piece carries an extensive white scuff on the canvas’s bottom from the burglary. The locations of the artworks remained a mystery for years. This was the case even though the authorities arrested the individual who took it and the supposed thief who plotted the robbery.


The Dutch media recognized them as Nils M and Peter Roy K. Arthur Brand obtained the piece in the latter part of last year, though not by any independent investigation. Brand is the famed art detective who recovered various treasures, including an Oscar Wilde ring and a Picasso picture. According to Brand, he sensed someone knocking on his front door late one-night last year.




An unnamed stranger handed Brand a shredded blue IKEA bag before speeding away. The police received a notification and the meeting had been scheduled. However, Brand claimed that he still hurried up the stairs of his Amsterdam apartment and eagerly unwrapped the package. The Van Gogh was within, surrounded by wrapping paper.

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Retrieved in an IKEA Sack

The throne of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, inside the Ridderzaal (“Knights Hall”) at the Binnenhof. Via Wikipedia


After having a coworker record the unwrapping, Brand matched the back of the piece to a picture that was supplied to him as “proof of life”. “It’s him”, Brand said. “Vincent van Gogh is back. What a day”. The detective also speculates that the painting probably circulated the criminal underworld. Probably, nobody wished to sell it or fence it, because of the value of the painting.


The estimated value for the piece is around $3.5 million-$6.5 million, and because of this, the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze. “We knew that the painting would go from one hand to another hand in the criminal world, but that nobody wanted to touch it because it wasn’t worth anything”, Brand explained. “You could only get in trouble. So it was a little bit cursed”.


Three Sunflowers in a Vase. 1888. Source: Van Gogh Gallery


The picture’s restorer at the Rotterdam Museum, Marjan de Visser, said the scrape on the canvas is “severe”. Also, it “goes through all the layers, the varnish, the paint layers and then into the ground layer”. The canvas has been cleared of dust and debris, and to properly repair the artwork, de Visser is investigating earlier restorations and the original materials used. The painting will be available for public view starting on March 29 at the Groninger Museum in the Northern Netherlands.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.