Last week, the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands dropped some exciting news – they finally got back their 1884 Vincent Van Gogh painting after it went missing for over three years.
Andreas Blühm, the museum’s director, couldn’t contain his joy, saying, “The Groninger Museum is extremely happy and relieved that the work is back.”
This Van Gogh beauty, titled “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring,” was the only piece by the legendary artist in the Groninger Museum’s collection. But, lo and behold, it vanished into thin air on March 30, 2020, while it was on loan to the Museum Singer Laren, near Amsterdam. The painting is worth a pretty penny, estimated at a cool $3.2 million to $6.4 million.
Here’s the kicker: the cops nabbed a suspect in 2021, but the painting was still MIA. It seems this masterpiece was making the rounds in the shady underworld of art crime.
Then enters Arthur Brand, our trusty Dutch art crimes detective. He got a mysterious WhatsApp message from someone who just wanted to do the right thing.
“I discussed it with the Dutch police, and it was obvious from the beginning that this person had nothing to do with the theft,” Brand spilled to The Washington Post. “This was a guy who just wanted to hand it over, so we went along with it.”
Before you know it, Brand’s receiving a Van Gogh in an IKEA bag at his doorstep, all the way in Amsterdam. Sure, it had a few scratches, but it was in pretty decent shape.
Blühm, the museum’s director, couldn’t hold back his emotions when he found out about the painting’s return: “It was an incredibly emotional reunion and truly an amazing day. The painting is an integral part of our collection and of our local cultural heritage, and thinking we could have lost that forever was terrible.”
When can we all go see this long-lost Van Gogh? Well, the museum isn’t sure yet. They say it might take weeks or even months to put it back on display. And as for the ongoing investigation into the theft, mum’s the word for now. But here’s some good news – the Dutch police’s art crimes unit has verified that the painting is the real deal.