Two Vincent van Gogh paintings, snatched from an Amsterdam museum in 2002, were recently found during a sting on the Naples mafia by Italian authorities.
According to ArtNet, billions of dollars worth of art and artefacts are stolen each year. This week’s high profile finds, worth $30 million, are the latest in a series of artworks to have been recovered over the years:
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Seascape at Scheveningen and Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, Van Gogh
The 19th century Dutch works, Seascape at Scheveningen and Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, were recently located in one of the homes of an international drug trafficker with the Camorra crime syndicate, the Guardian reports.
This comes more than a decade after they were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum, when thieves avoided cameras and security guards by entering through the roof. Art thief Octave Durham and his accomplice Henk Sieslijn were convicted of the theft in 2004 but authorities were not able to track the stolen works till now.
Adolescence, Salvador Dali and La Musicienne, Tamara de Lempicka
Armed robbers nabbed paintings by the Spanish surrealist artist Dali and Polish Art Deco painter from a private museum in the Netherlands in 2009. They were both recovered this July by Dutch art detective Arthur Brand, who made the announcement on Twitter.
Brand told the De Telegraf that he estimates the work changed hands around ten times. It was eventually returned to Brand by a criminal gang— who were given the piece by another criminal syndicate in lieu of payment— because they “did not want to find themselves guilty of the destruction or resale of works of art.”
The Scream, Edvard Munch
Munch’s haunting image of a skeletal figure clutching its face and wailing was stolen in Feb. 1994 from a Norwegian art museum. It apparently took the thieves 50 seconds to scale a ladder, smash a window of the National Art Museum in Oslo and cut the painting from the wall.
The artwork, which is the most important of four different versions of The Scream painted by the Norwegian artist, proved to be impossible to sell. The thieves were eventually nabbed two months later during an undercover sting by British police.
Odalisque in Red Trousers, Henri Matisse
The Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art discovered in 2002 that their painting of a topless, dark haired woman by post-Impressionist painter Matisse was stolen and replaced with a copy.
The painting, valued at $3 million, was recovered in July 2012 when a couple attempted to sell it for $740,000 to undercover FBI agents at a Miami Beach hotel, AP reports. The 1925 work made its homecoming to Venezuela in July 2014.
Fruits sur une table, Paul Gauguin and La femme aux deux fauteuils, Pierre Bonnard
Paintings stolen in 1970 from the home of American author Terence Kennedy and Mathilda Marks, heir of British retailer Marks & Spencer, were recovered in Sicily nearly 40 years later from the kitchen wall of an unsuspecting Italian factory worker.
The man, whose name has not been made public, bought the paintings at a lost-property auction in 1975 for around $40 at the time. It was only after his son noticed similarities between a Gauguin painting in an art book to artwork on the wall did the now retired factory worker consult experts and eventually Italian police.