Dutch police recover long-lost masters' works

7th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Dutch authorities said Saturday they had recovered eight 17th and 19th century paintings by such masters as Pissarro and Renoir that had been missing for over 20 years, and arrested three people.

THE HAGUE - "Some of the art works had been folded and were seriously damaged," said a statement from the prosecuting authority.

The paintings had gone missing from an art gallery in Maastricht near the Belgian border in 1987.

Having received information that the works had been put up for sale, police found six of the paintings in Valkenburg in the south of the country on Thursday.

A subsequent house search in the small, southern town of Walem yielded another two.

Police arrested a 45-year-old German man, resident in Dubai, his 62-year-old Belgian mother, and a 66-year-old man from Walem.

"The suspects were apparently trying to sell the artworks to the insurance company that had paid out 2.27 million euros (about 2.8 million dollars) after they went missing," the statement said.

The modern-day value of the paintings had yet to be determined.

The works were by 17th century painters David Teniers (Flemish), Willem van de Velde and Jan Brueghel de Jonge (both Dutch), as well as 19th century French artists Eva Gonzales, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Paul Desire Trouillebert.

"The investigation has yet to determine where the paintings have been for more than 20 years," said the statement.

The suspects will appear before a court on Monday.

AFP / Radio Netherlands

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