15 September 2023, by Emily Proctor

A van Gogh painting that was stolen from a Dutch museum in 2020 has been returned to a prominent Dutch art detective. The 139-year-old painting was mysteriously returned by an anonymous person, who brought the painting to the detective’s doorstep stuffed inside a pillow and wrapped in an Ikea bag.

Stolen van Gogh painting belonged to Groninger Museum

The stolen painting was originally the property of the Groninger Museum, located in the city of Groningen, but was on loan to the Singer Museum in Laren near Amsterdam at the time it was stolen. Now, three and a half years later, the painting is back in the hands of the Groninger Museum. 

The painting was recovered by Dutch art sleuth Arthur Brand, who told the BBC that he had been handed the painting in an Ikea bag on his doorstep. “I did this in complete coordination with Dutch police and we knew this guy wasn’t involved in the theft,” he told the broadcaster. The person who originally stole the painting was jailed in 2021 for eight years after it was discovered they were responsible for the crime. 

Mystery surrounds the person who returned the painting

There are few details about the person who gave the painting to Brand. That’s because the art detective has chosen to keep the person who handed over the painting anonymous as part of the deal to return the priceless piece of art. 

Brand stated that he was approached by “a man in Amsterdam” who offered the painting’s safe return in exchange for anonymity. Since receiving the painting, Brand has returned the artwork to the Groninger museum and according to the BBC, after verification that the artwork is real, the museum director Andreas Blühm has expressed delight that the painting is back at home in Groningen.

Image: Wan Fahmy Redzuan / Shutterstock.com

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