A museum has recovered one of three Vincent van Gogh paintings stolen in December after negotiating with thieves who demanded a multimillion-dollar ransom, Dutch radio reported Monday.
The painting, identified as "The Loom," was returned to the Kroeller-Mueller National Museum in this eastern Dutch village after thieves demanded a ransom of $2.5 million, the radio said.Ransom negotiations with the thieves were conducted in writing, according to the report, which did not specify if any of the ransom was actually paid. No further details were disclosed in the radio report.
On Dec. 12, thieves smashed a large window in the museum and took three paintings by the Dutch impressionist master. In addition to "The Loom" they included an early version of his world famous "The Potato Eaters" and "Wilted Sunflowers."
A woman answering the telephone at the Kroeller-Mueller confirmed one of the stolen paintings had been recovered but would give no other details. Police were not available to comment by telephone.
No official value has ever been disclosed for the three works, which were not insured by the state because of the astronomical premiums they would demand.
The director of the Christie's auction firm in Amsterdam said when the paintings were stolen that the price of "Potato Eaters" alone could rival that of van Gogh's "Sunflowers."
That painting sold for $39.9 million at a London auction in 1987.