Two Stolen Van Gogh Paintings Recovered

Posted on September 30, 2016

Seascape at Scheveningen painting

Two stolen Van Gogh paintings have been recovered. The announcement was today by the Van Gogh Museum. The paintings were stolen from the museum in 2002. The painting are the Seascape at Scheveningen (1882) (pictured above) and Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen (1884/85). The paintings were recovered during an investigation of organized crime conducted by a specialized Guardia di Finanza team and commissioned by the Italian Public Prosecutions Department.

Axel Rüger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum, said in a statement, "After all those years you no longer dare to count on a possible return. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the Italian Public Prosecutions Department, the members of the Guardia di Finanza investigation team, the Italian police, the Dutch Public Prosecutions Department, the liaison officers of the Dutch Public Prosecutions Department in Rome and everyone else involved. The paintings have been found! That I would be able to ever pronounce these words is something I had no longer dared to hope for. It is not yet certain when the works will come back to Amsterdam. But I fully believe that we can, once more, count on the unconditional support of the Italian authorities."

BBC News reports that suspected drug gang leader Mario Cerrone told investigators about the location of the missing paintings. The paintings were stolen from the walls of the museum by thieves that broke in through the roof.

The museum says the paintings are in "relatively good condition." They say the paintings were not preserved in suitable conditions. The frames around the paintings had been removed. Research by a conservator will reveal the full extent of the damage. The museum has not yet decided when to return the works to public display.

Rüger also says, "It is really a major step that the paintings have been found. We have been waiting for this moment for 14 years. And naturally the only thing you want is to take them straight home with you. But we will have to exercise a little bit more patience, but I am convinced that we can count on the support of the Italian authorities."

Photo: Van Gogh Museum