The Seascape at Scheveningen from 1882 and Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen from 1884 have long been assumed as destroyed or permanently missing.
But thanks to the continuing investigation conducted by a specialized Guardia di Finanza team following organized crime, the artworks were recovered with only light damage and missing frames.
“The paintings have been found!” exclaimed Axel Rüger, Director of the Van Gogh Museum. “That I would be able to ever pronounce these words is something I had no longer dared to hope for. It is not yet certain when the works will come back to Amsterdam. But I fully believe that we can, once more, count on the unconditional support of the Italian authorities.”
The congregational painting was created as a gift to Van Gogh’s mother, Anna Carbentus. However, the mourners in shawls were only added after the death of his father Theodorus.
The oceanic painting is only one of two seascape paintings that Van Gogh ever did. It is also the only work from The Hague period – a Dutch city where the artist briefly lived – from 1881 to 1883.
Since the two creations are still being used as burdens of proof in an ongoing investigation, it is not certain when they will return to their home at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.
“We have been waiting for this moment for 14 years. And naturally the only thing you want is to take them straight home with you. But we will have to exercise a little bit more patience, but I am convinced that we can count on the support of the Italian authorities”
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