Six artworks that had been taken from a Dutch town hall in September were returned to famed art detective Arthur Brand.
Does an art detective have to work tirelessly, roam the underworld and negotiate tough deals with gang bosses in order to return stolen works of art to their rightful owners? Not in the case of the famous Dutch art detective Arthur Brand, who recently received a stolen Vincent van Gogh painting in an Ikea bag last month. The masterpiece was stolen from the Singer Laren Museum in March 2020 by members of an organized crime enterprise. Now, another set of stolen paintings have also been returned to him directly.
As Brand told The Art Newspaper, he was sitting comfortably in front of the television watching a soccer game on October 13 when his doorbell rang quite late. According to the Dutch media, a parcel courier had a large delivery for him, which, to Brand's astonishment, included six paintings worth around €100,000 that had been taken from the old town hall of the Dutch municipality of Medemblik, in North Holland, at the beginning of September 2023. Brand immediately alerted the police.
The paintings are portraits of Frisian King Radbod, Prince Wilhelm of Orange, Queen Wilhelmina, Prince Moritz of Orange and Count Johann of Nassau, as well as a biblical scene. There is still no trace of a barometer and a chandelier that were also stolen.
Related: 10 Major Art Thefts
In the interview, Brand suggested that the thieves might have gotten cold feet after the highly publicized return of the Van Gogh painting or that the police might have already been on their trail.
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People in Medemblik are understandably delighted by the unexpected reappearance of the paintings, as council member Jeroen Broeders expressed in a press release: "Sometimes you don't know how much something means to you until it's no longer there. This certainly applies to these paintings too. We are very happy with the role played by Arthur Brand. He has once again lived up to his name as an 'art detective'."
Related: The Top 10 Stolen Paintings
Incidentally, Arthur Brand does not want to claim the €10,000 reward offered by the community.