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A Stolen Van Gogh Masterpiece Was Just Returned by an Anonymous Tipster—In an Ikea Bag A masked individual broke into the Singer Laren, a museum in the Netherlands, in March 2020 and made off with the now-returned Van Gogh.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Key Takeaways

  • The artwork's return was orchestrated by an anonymous tipster.
  • The piece suffered some damage, including scratches on the canvas, but experts believe it is reparable.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In March 2020, a masked individual broke into the Singer Laren museum in the Netherlands, smashing through the glass doors with a sledgehammer, and ultimately taking off with a Van Gogh painting under his arms.

On Monday, the stolen piece, "The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring," was returned — bubble wrapped in an Ikea bag, The New York Times reported.

The artwork's return was orchestrated by an anonymous tipster who provided key information to Dutch art crimes Detective Arthur Brand, who had been investigating the theft. The handoff took place at Brand's residence.

Although the tipster will remain anonymous, Brand told the NYT that "everyone is thankful to him. The museum is thankful."

The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring, 1884. Groninger Museum, Photo by Marten de Leeuw.

Once restored, "The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring," which was only part of a temporary exhibition at the museum at the time it was stolen, will make its way back to its original home at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands once it is restored.

Brand, often referred to as the "Indiana Jones of the art world" by local media, is no stranger to recovering stolen art and frequently encourages individuals to come forward and return stolen treasures. In 2019, he successfully recovered a stolen Picasso that had been missing since 1999 by negotiating with criminals in the Dutch underworld and cooperation of Dutch police.

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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