One may find a lot of objects in an Ikea bag: a bed, a wardrobe, lamps, cups, you name it. A Vincent van Gogh painting is certainly not part of that list. His stolen artwork from 1884, The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen, was stolen from the Singer Laren Museum in a smash-and-grab robbery in March 2020 while the institution was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. What was it doing in an Ikea bag? A tipster handed the work over to a Dutch art crimes detective, Arthur Brand, who had been investigating the theft together with the police.
Not only is the painting incredible, but how it made its way back to safety is even more unheard-of. Brand received a visitor at his apartment in Amsterdam, holding a blue Ikea bag. Inside was nestled a carefully unwrapped painting, bubble-wrapped to perfection. A colleague recorded the moment on video, “It’s him,” he said. “Vincent van Gogh is back. What a day.” The $6.5 million was recovered by the Indiana Jones of the art world’ who was ecstatic in the video shared by The Guardian.
‘This is Spring Garden by Vincent Van Gogh was stolen three years ago on Van Gogh’s birthday from a museum in the Netherlands. We have searched for it for more than three and a half years, but finally it’s here, it’s back,” he shared. Brand would hand the painting back to the director of the Singer Laren Museum near Amsterdam and follow it up with a celebration with the Dutch police officers involved in the case. ‘Arthur Brand, in cooperation with the Dutch police, has solved this matter,’ Richard Bronswijk of the Dutch police arts crime unit said. ‘This is definitely the real one, there’s no doubt about it.’