Stolen Vincent van Gogh paintings found in Italy

Vincent van Gogh, View of the Sea at Scheveningen, 1882 (Image Credit : Van Gogh Museum)
Vincent van Gogh, View of the Sea at Scheveningen, 1882 (Image Credit : Van Gogh Museum)

Two paintings by Vincent van Gogh which were stolen 14 years ago during a museum heist, have been found in Italy.

Vincent van Gogh, Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, 1884 - 1885 (Image Credit : Van Gogh Museum)
Vincent van Gogh, Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, 1884 – 1885 (Image Credit : Van Gogh Museum)

According to CNN, the paintings “Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen,” dating from 1884-85, and “Seascape at Scheveningen,” from 1882, were found wrapped in cloth in the basement of an apartment belonging to Raffaele Imperiale, a man described by CNN as a, “rich and powerful drug dealer.”

They were snatched in December 2002 from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum by thieves who broke into the building using a ladder to access the roof.

According to the museum, the two paintings are in fairly good condition, although both lack their frames and show signs of some damage.

The discovery, in the Italian village of Castellammare di Stabia, was reportedly part of a larger investigation into the Amato Pagano clan, an international drug smuggling group affiliated with the notorious Camorra mafia family.

Along with the uncovering of the paintings, which the FBI gave a combined value of $30 million in 2005, apartments, villas and a plane worth an estimated total of $22.3 million (€20 million) were seized. [CNN]