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Stolen Dali masterpiece recovered from criminal gang

A Dali masterpiece stolen seven years ago from a museum in the Netherlands has been recovered by an art detective.

Stolen Dali masterpiece recovered from criminal gang
Dali's Adolescence was recovered in Holland. Arthur Brand / Twitter

Dutch art detective Arthur Brand announced on twitter that he had recovered two works stolen fron the Scheringa Museum of Realist Art in the village if Spanbroek in the northern Netherlands in May 2009.

The artworks, Salvador Dalí’s gouache Adolescence (1941), which features the Catalan artist and his beloved nanny, and Tamara de Lempicka’s oil painting La Musicienne (1929), were stolen in a raid by masked gunmen.

Several masked men threatened staff and visitors with a gun and then drove off in a car with the two tableaux, police said at the time.

Brand told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that the artworks had been handed to him by a criminal gang who were given them in lieu of payment.

Brand said he had been contacted by an intermediary as the gang “did not want to find themselves guilty of the destruction or resale of works of art”

The artworks were handed over to Scotland Yard who are in contact with the rightful owners who wish to remain anonymous.

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Paul Gauguin’s ‘Mata Mua’ returns to Spain

One of French painter Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, "Mata Mua", will return to a Madrid museum on Monday following an agreement between the Spanish government and its owner, who took it out of the country.

mata mua madrid
Toward the end of his life, Gauguin spent ten years in French Polynesia, where he completed some of his most famous artwork Painting: Paul Gaugin

The artwork had been on display for two decades at Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum but in 2020 when the institution closed because of the pandemic, the painting’s owner Carmen Thyssen moved it to Andorra where she currently lives.

Her decision to take “Mata Mua” to the microstate sandwiched between Spain and France raised fears she would remove other works from her collection which are on display at the museum.

“It is expected that the painting will arrive today,” a spokeswoman for the museum told AFP.

mata-mua_gauguin-madrid

In 1989, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza bought Mata Mua at the Sotheby’s auction in New York. Painting: Paul Gauguin

The artwork will go back on display to the public “a few days after” Thyssen signs a new agreement with the Spanish state for the lease of her collection, she added. The deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

Painted in 1892 in vivid, flat colours, “Mata Mua” depicts two women, one playing the flute and the other listening, set against a lush Tahitian landscape.

It is one of the stars of Thyssen’s collection of several hundred paintings which are on show at the museum, including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet.

Her collection had initially been displayed at the Madrid museum as part of a free loan agreement signed in February 2002 that was subsequently extended.

But in August 2021 Spain’s culture ministry announced it had reached an agreement with Thyssen to rent the collection from her for 15 years for €97.5 million ($111.5 million), with “preferential acquisition rights on all or part” of the works. The collection includes a Degas, a Hopper and a Monet.

Aside from housing her collection of works, the museum displays the collection of her late husband, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Swiss heir to a powerful industrial lineage who died in Spain in 2002.

The Spanish state bought his collection in 1993 from $350 million, according to the museum.

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