Police officers with the Civil Guard in Spain have uncovered two priceless paintings. The “La Anunciación” by El Greco and “La Aparición de la Virgen del Pilar” by Francisco de Goya. They were found in a house in Alicante, both have been missing since the end of the 1990s.
The two works of art are an important part of Spain’s art heritage. They belonged to a private collection but have been loaned to international art exhibitions for the last two decades. The paintings were well known to art lovers and historians and have been displayed on the Arts Loss Register an international organization set up to trace stolen art since the theft. It is always a huge relief when works are recovered in an undamaged state and it looks like these two paintings have been unscathed and well looked after. They were reported missing by their owners after their return to Spain in the late 1990s. The police report lodged after their disappearance was filed locally as well as with interpol to alert police forces in the region as well as the global community of art and police professionals. This process makes it difficult for the thieves to sell works of art on to prospective buyers and produces a subculture of collectors willing to hang the stolen works. It is thought that the people in possession of the artworks were known to the police.
Last Autumn, investigators received information in the region after a tip off of a possible sale of the two paintings. The investigation was intensified, and this has lead to the discovery of both paintings at a private address in the province of Alicante. The occupants of the villa have been arrested.