A Dutch “art detective” from Amsterdam called Arthur Brand has managed to lay his hands on Buste de Femme (Dora Maar), a painting that had been lost since 1999, The Guardian reported yesterday.
On 14 March 2019, two men “with contacts in the underworld” handed Brand the stolen Picasso in his apartment in the east of Amsterdam. According to Brand, stolen art can often be a hot potato. It is difficult to sell and in the meantime the thief or fence is stuck with a stolen item that, if found in their possession, can lead to awkward questions from the authorities.
Having gotten wind of the Picasso, Brand let it be known that he was interested in the painting, worth an estimated 25 million euro.
Brand, whose motto is “if they start to threaten you, you know you are on the right trail”, recovered a pair of bronze horses by Josef Thorak in 2015. The year after he negotiated the return of five stolen painting held by a Ukranian militia.
A day after receiving the painting, he handed it over to representatives of the insurance company.
Pablo Picasso painted the work in 1938.
(Illustration: Pablo Picasso)
Tags: crime, criminals, detectives, Pablo Picasso, paintings, Picasso, theft
On 7 October, Ukraine is giving back five masterpieces stolen from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, North Holland 11 years ago. Twenty-four Dutch Golden Age masterpieces and 70 pieces of silverware were stolen from the museum on January 9, 2005, which back then had an estimated total value of 10 million euro.
In Ukraine earlier this year four Dutch Golden Age masterpieces were recovered in dubious circumstances while a fifth painting was handed back to Ukrainian authorities by an Ukrainian art buyer, also under dubious circumstances. The five paintings were ‘A Peasant Wedding’ by Hendrick Boogaert, ‘Kitchen Scene’ by Floris van Schooten, ‘Return of Jephta’ and ‘Lady World’ by Jacob Waben, and ‘Nieuwstraat in Hoorn’ by Isaak Ouwater.
To celebrate the return of the paintings, the museum will let people in for free as of 8 October for a week. The bad news is, ‘A Peasant Wedding’ and ‘Kitchen Scene’ are in very bad condition and will need crowdfunding to pay for their costly restoration estimated at 100,000 euro.
(Links: au.news.yahoo.com, wfm.nl, Photo of Westfries Museum, Hoorn by Fnorp, some rights reserved)
Tags: Hoorn, North Holland, paintings
A Belgian man from Turnhout, Jan Starckx, bought a portrait of a young girl in a red dress for 450 euro, which has turned out to be an original Willem de Kooning (shown here), a Dutch-American painter originally from Rotterdam.
Authenticated by experts on the BBC television show ‘Fake or Fortune’, the painting has been valued at between 55,000 and 100,000 euro. Starckx intends to exhibit the work first in Turnhout and then in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek in Brussels where it was painted. In April the work will be brought together with a similar work, ‘Portrait of Renée’ at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, USA.
“I thought it was a great painting and I was intrigued by the signature that misses the final ‘g’: ‘Wim Koonin’ it says”, explained Starckx.
(Link: deredactie.be, Photo of Willem de Kooning by Smithsonian Institution Archives, some rights reserved)
Tags: BBC, Belgium, paintings, Rotterdam, Willem de Kooning
When fine art painter Willem van der Made saw a print he liked at a car boot sale in Oosterhout last Sunday and found out it was only 5 euro, he didn’t hesitate and bought the work.
When he got home and removed the cardboard back, he found another print hidden underneath. And another and another. The frame turned out to contain 63 lithographic prints in total.
Van der Made told BN De Stem that something did not feel right when he first lifted the frame. It was heavy and thick. “I immediately asked the salesman where he got the print. He told me that an old lady had asked him to clear out her attic which was full of stuff dating back to World War II.”
Van der Made believes that the frame was purpose-built to hide so many prints. “It was hand-made and reasonably deep. The prints all fit in.” The prints all depict biblical scenes. Van der Made wants to sell them as a collection.
(Illustration: BN De Stem, artist unknown)
Tags: lithography, paintings, prints
Schiermonnikoog is an island and the northernmost and least populated municipality of the Netherlands. Among its 942 inhabitants is watercolorist Stella van Acker who moved there decades ago from one of the southernmost places in the Netherlands, Valkenburg, and has remained there ever since.
Holly Moors calls her “an absolute master. Her watercolors and other paintings have by now reached the level of a William Turner”.
Check out her site.
Tags: painting, paintings, Schiermonnikoog, Stella van Acker, Valkenburg, watercolor
Tumblrer Chaoscontrolled123 decided to transcribe the music written across the buttocks of one of the characters in Hieronymus Bosch’ famous painting The Garden of Earthly Delights. You can hear the results here.
Chaoscontrolled123 appears to be unimpressed by the tune but I see promise in it. Surely techno DJs or metal band Within Temptation should be able to do something with the melody?
Hieronymus Bosch was a mediaeval painter who was born and lived his entire life in ‘s-Hertogenbosch (hence the last name Bosch). The Garden of Earthly Delights is perhaps his most famous painting consisting of three panels, the right-most of which depicts hell. Our trouserless friend is part of a scene in which the sin of lust is depicted as music—Wikipedia says lust was considered the ‘music of the flesh’ in those days.
By the way, I don’t know if any art historian ever noticed this, but there is a diptych in the right panel of the triptych. Huh-huh.
(Link: Trendbeheer; illustration Hieronymus Bosch)
Tags: buttocks, Den Bosch, diptychs, Hieronymus Bosch, paintings, triptychs, Within Temptation
Tacky or serious craftsmanship? The hyperrealistic paintings of Tjalf Sparnaay have to be seen to be believed.
A friend of a friend bought a lithographic print of the painting shown above and hung it over her dinner table. According to the friend, Guuz Hoogaerts of the Filles Sourires blog, “you have to see it for real. The print is even on the small side. You keep looking — at least I did.”
To get an idea of the scale of the original paintings, check Mr Sparnaay’s website (linked above) where he has several photos of him next to a work in progress. Sparnaay paints still lifes containing fast food, marbles, trinkets for tourists, flowers, and so on.
Personally I’d go for something like the portion of fries shown below even though the subject may not provide the Hilversum-based artist as much of an opportunity to go wild with textures and reflections. Ketchup, though? What kind of abomination is that?
Tags: Hilversum, paintings, still lifes, Tjalf Sparnaay
The thieves that stole seven paintings from the Kunsthal museum in Rotterdam last October considered burning the art, Rheinische Post reports.
The German newspaper says that Romanian detectives overheard a phone conversation in which the suspects discussed getting rid of the paintings. The suspects were unable to find buyers and presumably wanted to clear any traces that would lead to them.
It is not known whether the suspects managed to put their plan into action. Romanian broadcaster Antenna 3 claimed that two of the seven paintings had been found, but Dutch police was unable to confirm this, NRC reports. Last Monday three suspects were arrested in Bucharest.
The Kunsthal theft made headlines because the security system was laughably easy to break. The entire theft took no more than two minutes, Business Week reported back then.
The missing paintings are;
- Tête d’Arlequin by Pablo Picasso.
- Waterloo Bridge, London by Claude Monet.
- Charing Cross Bridge, London by Claude Monet.
- La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune by Henri Matisse.
- Femme Devant une Fenêtre Ouverte, dite la Fiancée by Paul Gauguin
- Autoportrait by Meyer de Haan.
- Woman with Eyes Closed by Lucian Freud.
(Illustration: Charing Cross Bridge by Claude Monet. Source: politie.nl)
Tags: Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Kunsthal, Meyer de Haan, Pablo Picasso, paintings, Paul Gauguin, Romania, Rotterdam, security, security systems
Daan de Houter writes:
Daan den Houter invites artists to produce their own paintings on the same single canvas. Each individual work is on display for one week only in De Aanschouw, the only opportunity to view the painting. Subsequently, the canvas moves on to a new artist, who will add a new layer. (50cm x 60cm, oils, started May 24, 2002)
Shown here are layers 27 and 28 by Martijn in ‘t Veld and Wouter Boot respectively. De Aanschouw is an art gallery in Rotterdam. Currently the 91st layer is on display there. Trendbeheer writes that each new layer makes painting the next one more difficult.
(Image: partial screenshot of overschilderschilderij.nl)
Tags: Daan de Houter, painting, paintings
Yesterday the old, today the new.
Last week art blog Trendbeheer showcased a couple of artists I had not seen before (here and here).
Simon Schrikker, 2010
Simon Schrikker was born in Utrecht but currently lives and works in Rotterdam. His work has a certain three-dimensional quality, not in the least because he sometimes puts the paint on thickly, and is not afraid to extend the canvas when the subject calls for it. Check his painting of a shark to see how the thick, sharp paint amplifies the danger emanating from the animal.
Schrikker’s work will be on display at the Drents Museum in Assen from September 15 to January 27.
I just realized, Marie Civikov, 2012
Marie Civikov studied at the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam. Bold colours and aggressive imagery make these paintings stand out. Civikov’s work is currently part of an exhibition at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam.
Lively art! Check out their websites.
(Photos by the artists.)
Tags: dogs, Marie Civikov, painters, paintings, Rotterdam, Simon Schrikker