Stolen artwork recovered in unusual ways has been in the news lately, but a recent discovery made in an Italian kitchen has those in the art world buzzing.
A stolen work by Paul Gauguin was found among the art belonging to an Italian gentleman after his son received a tip that the pieces might have been taken years ago. The work, Fruit on a Table or Small Dog, is worth between $13 and $41 million and is accompanied by a piece by Pierre Bonnard which is worth about 600,000 euros. Both pieces were stolen from a Regent’s Park home in the 1970’s by men posing as burglar alarm technicians; the men asked the maid for a cup of tea, and when she came back, the paintings had been cut from their frames and the men were long gone. They were later sold at auction to the Italian art collector for about 23 euros.
“It’s an incredible story, an amazing recovery. A symbol of all the work which Italian art police have put in over the years behind the scenes,” Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini.
An investigation of the artwork is in the works, but officials say that the Italian collector could claim ownership of the paintings if he can prove he bought them in good faith.
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