Two paintings by the Dutch master Vincent van Gogh, which were stolen from a museum in Amsterdam 14 years ago, have been found. The Italian police reportedly recovered the two paintings from the mafia in Naples.
The paintings, “Seascape at Scheveningen” and “Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen” — painted in 1882 and 1884/1885 respectively — “were recovered during a massive, continuing investigation commissioned by the Italian Public Prosecutions Department, conducted by a specialized Guardia di Finanza team, the team investigating organized crime,” the museum said in a press release.
It also said that both the paintings were missing their frames and showed some signs of damage, but were still in “relatively good condition.” There is some missing paint in the left bottom corner of “Seascape at Scheveningen” and “Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen” has minor damages at the edge of the canvas.
The museum added it didn’t know when the paintings will be returned to it, since they are to be presented as evidence in the ongoing case in Italian courts.
“It is really a major step that the paintings have been found. We have been waiting for this moment for 14 years. And naturally the only thing you want is to take them straight home with you. But we will have to exercise a little bit more patience, but I am convinced that we can count on the support of the Italian authorities,” museum director Axel Rüger said.
The paintings were reportedly found along with other assets worth millions of euros by the Italian police in a house at Castellammare di Stabia, near Pompeii, that was used by a Camorra group linked to cocaine smuggling.
In the December 2002 heist, thieves broke in to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and stole the uninsured paintings that were on loan to the museum from the Dutch government at the time.