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Arthur Brand presents the Van Gogh painting


Three and a half years after the theft of a valuable painting by Vincent van Gogh, the artwork has resurfaced in the Netherlands. "The Groninger Museum is extremely happy and relieved that the artwork is back," the exhibition house announced.

The detective Arthur Brand, known as the "Indiana Jones of the art world", had saved the oil painting "Spring Garden, the parish garden in Nuenen in spring" from 1884 in cooperation with state investigators, the Dutch police said. It's guaranteed to be the real picture, there's no doubt about that," a police spokesman told AFP.

According to Brand, the painting was handed over in a blue Ikea bag on Monday. It was "one of the greatest moments of my life," the detective told AFP. In a video he published himself, Brand can be seen unwrapping the artwork wrapped in bubble wrap and a pillowcase, taking his breath away when he sees what he has in front of him. It remained unclear who handed him the Ikea bag with the artwork.

Van Gogh's painting had been stolen from the Singer-Laren Museum in Laren in central the Netherlands in March 2020 when the museum was closed due to the corona pandemic. The value of the picture, which van Gogh painted in 1884 during a stay at his father's house, is estimated at up to six million euros ($6.6 million), according to Dutch media reports. Paintings by the Dutch artist regularly fetch millions in prices and are correspondingly popular with art thieves.

The work dates from a relatively early phase of Van Gogh's career, before the artist began his signature post-impressionist paintings, such as the "Sunflowers" and his vivid self-portraits.

The thief of the picture was identified at the time with the help of DNA traces. In September 2021, the then 59-year-old was sentenced to eight years in prison. Van Gogh's work, however, remained missing. According to the court, the man had also stolen a painting by the Dutch Baroque painter Frans Hals.