The 1884 painting has a muted palette of deep browns, unlike the artist's well-known colorful works.
Vincent van Gogh's "The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring" was recently recovered after it was stolen three years ago in 2020. It was the only work by the famed artist in the Groninger Museum's collection. The 1884 painting has a muted palette of deep browns, unlike the artist's well-known colorful works.
The painting arrived at the home of Dutch art detective Arthur Brand, also referred to as the "Indiana Jones of the art world," inside a bloody pillowcase stuffed into one of IKEA's iconic blue tote bags, reported The Washington Post. Brand, who has spent decades tracking down some of the world's greatest masterpieces was ecstatic to recover the Dutch artist's earliest works. "It was an incredibly emotional reunion and truly an amazing day," Andreas Blühm, director of the Groninger Museum, shared. "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." It is estimated to be worth between $3.2 million and $6.4 million, as reported by ABC News.
Brand received the painting in a blue IKEA bag at his home in Amsterdam from an unidentified man and it turned out to be mostly in good condition despite a few scratches. "Vincent van Gogh is back!" Brand captioned an Instagram post featuring a video of him holding the painting. "In close coordination with Dutch Police, I was able to recover Van Gogh's 'Spring Garden' (1884). The painting was stolen 3 years ago on Van Gogh's birthday from the Singer Museum in Laren, the Netherlands. A great day for all Van Gogh lovers worldwide." In another video posted on September 14, he is seen taking the painting out of the IKEA bag and its cover before displaying it to viewers.
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The piece of art had been passed around within the criminal underworld after it was stolen from the Singer Laren Museum. According to PEOPLE, the painting was on loan from the Groninger Museum to the Netherlands' Museum Singer Laren near Amsterdam for an exhibition when it was stolen. The Groninger Museum announced last week that the painting has been returned to the institution. "The Groninger Museum is extremely happy and relieved that the work is back," said Andreas Blühm, the museum's director, in a statement.
"It is currently in good company in the Van Gogh Museum. We are very grateful to our colleagues in Amsterdam for their hospitality. On behalf of all our staff, all Groningen residents and visitors, we are very grateful to everyone who contributed to this good outcome." Blühm also expressed gratitude to the Dutch art crime detective in his statement on the museum website, adding, "Arthur Brand played a key role in this case and the museum greatly appreciates that."
A spokesperson for the Groninger Museum, Karina Smrkovsky, said that they hope that the restoration of the painting will be "prosperous so that we can soon show the work to the public in the Groninger Museum in 2024. Unfortunately, we cannot make any statements about the police investigation." The penalty for stealing a painting includes imprisonment of 8 years. The painting is currently at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, where it will undergo restorations.
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