A long lost painting by the Spanish Baroque artist Sebastián de Llanos Valdés, which was missing for over 70 years, has been discovered in the UK, after an unidentified individual tried to consign ‘Penitent Maria Magdalena’ to Christie’s, according to a DPA report. However, the Staatliche Museum Schwerin, which owns the painting, had previously entered the artwork into Germany’s centralised “Lost Art” database for stolen artworks. Since the attempted sale the museum and auction house were able to negotiate the work’s return; with the individual who found and consigned the Valdés reportedly being offered a reward by way of compensation.
The artist was born in Seville, and was a pupil of Francisco Herrera the Elder, he worked chiefly for private patrons. In 1660, the artist actively supported Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in founding the Academia de Bellas Artes (Academy of Art), afterwards making frequent donations of oil and other materials for the students’ use. He was thrice chosen president of the Academy, in 1666 and the two following years. He painted a Virgin of the Rosary, adored by Angels and patrons for the College of San Tomas at Seville, and a Magdalen for the Convent Recoletas in Madrid. Llanos is chiefly remarkable for having worked under the despotic Herrera longer than any other of his scholars, and for being wounded in a duel.
Shortly before the outbreak of World War III – in order to protect its artworks from allied air strikes, the Staatliche Museum Schwerin moved portions of its collection to various safe houses in the countryside of the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. This included the Valdés painting, which subsequently disappeared from one of those storage facilities, Krumbeck Palace, after the War ended.
It is the second time this year that an artwork from the Staatliche Museum Schwerin has been rediscovered. In September the FBI tracked down ‘Two Children in the Park’, which is an unsigned canvas attributed to the Dutch artist Adriaen Hanneman. The painting which disappeared from Ivenack Palace, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern was discovered in a private collection in New Orleans.