Police finds priceless Van Gogh taken by Nazis hidden in bank vault

Agents from the Agencia Tributaria—the Spanish IRS—announced the find of a priceless Van Gogh which disappeared from the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Vienna, Austria. Dated in 1889, the painting "Cypress, sky and field" was discovered in a safe deposit box that belonged to a Spanish fraudster.

According to El Mundo (in Spanish), the 13.7 x 12.6-inch (35 x 32-centimeter) unframed painting has been authenticated by two art experts from the Spanish Ministry of Culture.


The painting has three seals on the back. The first one is dated April 8, 1944, at the Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands. The seal and red wax were exactly like those used by the Nazis during the occupation of the Netherlands.

The next seal shows that the painting was taken from the Rijksmuseum to the Museum der Schöne Künste in Berlin. There's no date on that seal. The last seal—dated April 10, 1975—belongs to the Kunsthistorisches Institut der Universität Wien, the art history institute at the University of Vienna.

According to the owner of the safe deposit box—who was with the agents during the operation—he was just storing it for an unidentified millionaire who brought it to Spain in 2010. The painting, which was probably made during Van Gogh's stay at Saint Rémy de Provence, France, is similar to other landscapes with cypresses painted during that period.


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