Tags: stolen | van gogh | paintings | drug raid

Stolen Van Gogh Paintings Found in Drug Dealer's Basement

Image: Stolen Van Gogh Paintings Found in Drug Dealer's Basement

Axel Ruger, director of the Van Gogh museum, poses next to one of two recently recovered stolen paintings by late Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. (Mario Laporta/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 30 Sep 2016 02:33 PM

Two stolen Vincent van Gogh paintings taken from the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands in 2002 have been recovered in a raid on a drug dealer in Italy after 14 years.

Thieves broke into the museum through the roof and took the paintings in December of 2002, according to CNN. Italian prosecutor Filippo Beatrice said the artworks were discovered in the basement of wealthy and powerful drug dealer Raffaele Imperiale when anti-mafia officials raided the apartment located in a village near Naples, Italy.

The paintings are estimated to be worth about $30 million, and they hold great historical significance. “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen” was painted for his mother at the church where van Gogh’s father was a pastor, and the painting was reworked in 1885 after his father’s death to include mourning shawls. “Seascape at Scheveningen” is the museum’s only work from the artist’s years in the Hague (1881-1883) and represents his early style of painting.

The paintings were found wrapped in cloth and missing their original frames. An art curator verified that the paintings are original before revealing the find to the public. Both paintings have minor damage, but museum staff are thrilled to have recovered them. Director Alex Ruger told CNN, “We have been waiting for this moment for 14 years.”

The paintings will be returned to the museum after they are used as evidence in a coming trial, The New York Times reported. They will not be traded or sold, the museum said.

The theft had been listed as one of the FBI’s top 10 art crimes. The DNA of two men found at the scene led to their conviction for the theft in 2004, but the paintings were never recovered, according to USA Today.

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Two stolen Vincent van Gogh paintings taken from the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands in 2002 have been recovered in a raid on a drug dealer in Italy after 14 years.
stolen, van gogh, paintings, drug raid
295
2016-33-30
Friday, 30 Sep 2016 02:33 PM
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