Dutch art detective Arthur Brand has successfully recovered a stolen Vincent van Gogh painting that was taken from a museum during a daring heist three-and-a-half years ago. The painting, titled “Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring” and valued between three and six million euros, was found in Brand’s Amsterdam home on Monday. Brand, known as the “Indiana Jones of the Art World,” confirmed the authenticity of the painting, describing it as “one of the greatest moments of my life.”
Working in collaboration with the Dutch police, Brand had been persistently pursuing the return of the stolen artwork. A man, whose identity remains undisclosed for safety reasons, handed Brand the painting in a blue IKEA bag, wrapped in bubble-wrap and concealed in a pillow casing. Brand expressed his astonishment upon unpacking the painting, capturing the moment on video.
The theft of the Van Gogh painting occurred on March 30, 2020, at the Singer Laren Museum near Amsterdam. The burglar was captured on video breaking through a glass door and fleeing with the painting tucked under his arm. In April 2021, a man named Nils M. was arrested and later convicted for the theft, as well as for stealing another artwork by Frans Hals.
Brand revealed that he received information from a source in the criminal world who had purchased the stolen Van Gogh from Nils M. The person who returned the painting, identified as Peter Roy K., is currently incarcerated for a separate case involving cocaine trafficking. K. intended to use the painting as leverage for a reduced sentence, but ultimately decided to return it.
The recovered painting has been returned to the Groninger Museum, from where it was on loan to the Singer Laren Museum. The director of the Groninger Museum expressed gratitude to Brand for his efforts. The painting will not be immediately displayed to the public, with plans for a future exhibition.
While the Van Gogh painting has been recovered, another stolen artwork by Frans Hals, titled “Two Laughing Boys,” remains missing. Brand expressed hope that it will also be returned soon.