Arthur Brand, the “Indiana Jones of the art world,” negotiated the recovery of an 1884 canvas taken from a Dutch museum in March 2020
Thanks to a world-renowned art detective, an early Vincent van Gogh painting is back at home three and a half years after it was stolen from a Dutch museum.
Arthur Brand announced the recovery of The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring, an 1884 canvas estimated to be worth between $3.2 and $6.4 million, on September 12. The day before, an anonymous tipster delivered the bubble-wrapped painting to Brand’s Amsterdam apartment in an Ikea bag.
The individual who returned the painting is not believed to be involved in the theft, which took place before dawn on March 30, 2020—van Gogh’s birthday—at the Singer Laren museum in the Netherlands. At the time, the Singer Laren was closed due to Covid-19 restrictions. The artwork was on loan from the Groninger Museum, also in the Netherlands.
Authorities arrested the culprit behind the heist in April 2021, using DNA evidence left on a broken picture frame to link a man identified only as Nils M. to the thefts of both the van Gogh and a Frans Hal painting stolen in August 2020. A Dutch court sentenced Nils to eight years in prison and ordered him to pay nearly $9 million in compensation to the owner of the Hals.