A stolen Vincent Van Gogh painting has finally been returned to its rightful home, thanks to world-renowned art detective, Arthur Brand. Known in some circles as the “Indiana Jones of the art world,” the Dutch historian and sleuth has recovered over 200 notable works over his career and had been in negotiations with several unnamed parties connected to the looted painting, The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884), which is estimated to be worth up to $6.4m USD.
How was it returned? In a humble IKEA bag at Brand’s Amsterdam apartment. The painting was first stolen overnight on March 30, 2020, coincidentally Van Gogh’s birthday, from the Singer Laren museum in The Netherlands. Originally on loan from the Groninger Museum, the work had swapped multiple hands in the criminal underworld over the past few years, but was somewhat of a “cursed” object, as the thief responsible was in convicted in 2021 — making it far too risky of an item to sell for anyone involved after.
“We knew that the painting would go from one hand to another hand in the criminal world, but that nobody really wanted to touch it,” Brand told the Guardian in a past interview. “You could only get in trouble. So it was a little bit cursed.”
The Groninger Museum is currently evaluating the damage done to the painting, which may take months for it to be ready for viewing again.
In related news, there is a Pokémon x Vincent Van Gogh Museum collaboration in the works.