Stolen Vincent Van Gogh Masterpiece Returned In An Ikea Bag

The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring by Van Gogh

The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring. Credit: The Groninger Museum.

A Vincent van Gogh masterpiece, stolen from a Dutch museum during a COVID-19 lockdown, has been recovered and returned in an Ikea bag.

The painting in question, “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring,” also known as the “Spring Garden,” was taken from the Singer Laren museum, situated about 30km (19 miles) east of Amsterdam, on March 30, 2020, during the closure of the attraction as a preventive measure against the spread of coronavirus.

The theft occurred when criminals broke the museum’s glass doors in a night-time heist, making off with the 1884 artwork, which had been on loan from the Groninger Museum, located in the city of Groningen.

Fortunately, the painting is reported to be in relatively good condition.

The Groninger Museum expressed its gratitude to Dutch art sleuth Arthur Brand, applauding his “key role in the case” but refraining from disclosing further details regarding the recovery process. Known as the “Indiana Jones of the art world,” Brand was captured on Dutch national television unwrapping the paintMost Useding from the Ikea bag and presenting it to the camera.

Director Andreas Bluhm conveyed the museum’s relief and joy at the artwork’s return, emphasising their gratitude to everyone involved in achieving the positive outcome, reported Sky News.

The painting, currently housed temporarily at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, will undergo scientific examination in the coming months. While the painting’s exact value remains undisclosed, an insurance company compensated the Groninger Museum for the loss and now owns the artwork formally.

Nonetheless, the museum intends to exercise its right of first purchase for the piece.

The museum aims to display the painting again soon, but the process may take “weeks, if not months.”

Measuring 25cm by 57cm (10in by 22in), the artwork depicts a figure standing in the garden of the rectory at Nuenen, a rural Dutch town where Van Gogh’s parents resided. It captures a scene of trees and a church tower in the background, reflecting the period when Van Gogh returned to his family home and painted scenes from his life there, including his renowned work, “The Potato Eaters.”

Later in his career, the Dutch Post-Impressionist artist moved to southern France, before his passing in 1890.

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Written by

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.


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