November 21, 2013

Museum van Bommel van Dam Theft: Art Investigator Arthur Brand provides an update

From the Netherlands, Art investigator Arthur Brand has an update in the case in which he helped return two of the paintings stolen in March 2013 from the Museum van Bommel van Dam (reported in the ARCAblog in August). In an email dated Nov. 21, Mr. Brand wrote:
The man who walked into the police station with me on the 15th of August, delivering two works by Schoonhoven, is still imprisoned, waiting trial. The other day he called me to give me an update. 
According to him, he bought the two works in an official shop. The police went to the shop and interrogated the owner, who denies having sold the artworks. The shop owner stated that this particular kind of receipt was not even used by him. But, in the pretrial, the defense attorney noted that the receipt was signed with a signature that was identical with the shop owner's signature on his statement. 
The defense attorney also asked the judge to hear the director of Sotheby's, the Netherlands, which was granted. Sotheby's had auctioned one of the stolen artworks. Why did Sotheby's not withdraw the artwork after a warning from the ALR that it might be a work stolen three months before, a theft that made headlines? If, according to the lawyer, even the experts at Sotheby's missed it, how could his own client possibly have known that the works were stolen? 
And maybe the most interesting question of all: Why did Sotheby's turn the work 90 degrees before depicting it in their catalogue? 
Anyway, the plot thickens and there might be some surprises left.
Here in September Jacobiene Kuijpers provided a perspective on the case.

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