Trail found for Monet stolen in 2012 Rotterdam museum heist
Art detective Arthur Brand said he may be on the trail of a painting by Claude Monet that was stolen from the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, one of seven paintings stolen in the 2012 heist. A source told Brand that the painting ended up with Greek art thief George S., who was arrested last week for stealing artwork from the National Gallery in Athens in 2012, Brand confirmed to NU.nl and De Telegraaf.
Brand's source is a former lover of the 49-year-old George S. She approached Brand about six months ago, saying that S. came to be in possession of the Monet as well as a Picasso stolen from the Kunsthal. She thought S. may have already sold the Picasso, but told Brand the Monet could be in one of three locations - a cupboard that belong's to S.'s mother, his uncle's grave, or a secret double wall in his uncle's apartment.
According to Brand, other information the woman provided turned out to be correct. For example, her tips led the Greek police to two artworks stolen from the National Gallery in Athens. The paintings by Mondriaan and Picasso were found hidden in a ravine in a forest.
On Sunday, Brand had telephone contact with the Greek judiciary "at the highest level" about the Kunsthal's Monet. He expects that the police will soon be looking for the painting in the provided locations.
A spokesperson for the Kunsthal told De Telegraaf that they are closely following reports about the Monet and possibly the Picasso. "It would of course be fantastic if these works surface again."
The Rotterdam Kunsthal heist was the work of Romanian criminals, who stole the paintings and took them to Romania. They were jailed in Romania, but the paintings were never recovered. The authorities believe some of the paintings were burned, possibly in an attempt to destroy evidence.