ShareThis Page
Dutch art sleuth recovers Picasso stolen 20 years ago | TribLIVE.com
Art & Museums

Dutch art sleuth recovers Picasso stolen 20 years ago

Associated Press
939282_web1_939282-96e9412dd33c43f4804e673789178105
AP
This image released on Tuesday March 26, 2019 by Arthur Brand, shows Dutch art detective Arthur Brand with ‘Buste de Femme,’ a recovered Picasso painting.
939282_web1_939282-d3e2f98a96ee470a805e2f21177095f4
AP
This image released on Tuesday March 26, 2019 by Arthur Brand, shows Dutch art detective Arthur Brand with ‘Buste de Femme,’ a recovered Picasso painting.

AMSTERDAM — A Dutch art detective said Tuesday that he has recovered a valuable painting by Pablo Picasso 20 years after it was stolen from a wealthy Saudi’s yacht in France.

Arthur Brand told The Associated Press that he took possession two weeks ago of the 1938 painting “Buste de Femme” after trailing it for years in Amsterdam.

Brand, a renowned sleuth whose previous finds include a pair of bronze horses sculpted for Adolf Hitler, has since handed over the painting, which he estimates to be worth around 25 million euros ($28 million), to an insurance company. It wasn’t immediately clear what would happen to the painting.

Brand said he knew it was the real thing as soon as he got his hands on it and peeled away two plastic bags covering the canvas.

“You know it’s a Picasso because there is some magic coming off it,” he said.

But that wasn’t the only reason he was convinced of its authenticity.

In cases of stolen art, he said, the back of a painting can tell experts more than the front.

He said that since the theft from a yacht moored in the swanky French Riviera port of Antibes, a number of forgeries had been offered to insurers and rejected.

“But a forger never knows how the back looks,” Brand said, without specifying what was there. “When I saw the back of the painting, I knew it was the real one.”

Brand began his latest hunt after hearing rumors about a Picasso stolen from a boat.

“Finally, I tracked somebody down who had had it in his possession 10 years ago and he told me which one it was,” he said. “And then it still took me three years to get near it.”

Brand said the painting had circulated in the criminal underworld of the Dutch capital.

“It was used as some kind of money as payment for drug and arm deals,” he said.

Eventually a person who had the painting in their possession decided to turn it in and reached out to Brand.

Martin Finkelnberg, head of the Dutch national police’s art and antique criminality team, welcomed the recovery. No arrests have been made.

Finkelnberg told Dutch national daily De Volkskrant that having such a painting can be a burden and taking it to Brand is a way out.

“Done. Everybody happy,” Finkelnberg said. “The most important thing is that the artwork is back.”

939282_web1_939282-96e9412dd33c43f4804e673789178105
AP
This image released on Tuesday March 26, 2019 by Arthur Brand, shows Dutch art detective Arthur Brand with ‘Buste de Femme,’ a recovered Picasso painting.
939282_web1_939282-d3e2f98a96ee470a805e2f21177095f4
AP
This image released on Tuesday March 26, 2019 by Arthur Brand, shows Dutch art detective Arthur Brand with ‘Buste de Femme,’ a recovered Picasso painting.
Categories: AandE | Museums
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.