A stolen painting by Henri Matisse which disappeared 25 years ago from the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, has turned up in Essex. A local art dealer was offered the picture by an elderly Polish collector. Charles Roberts of Charles Fine Art in Essex ran it through the global database of stolen art, the Art Loss Register and discovered it to be the missing painting, from a 25 year old heist. The work was stolen when a thief using a sledge hammer broke into the museum in 1987. Attempts were made sell the stolen painting back to the museum, but after the directors refused to pay a ransom the painting went missing for the next two subsequent decades.
Henri Matisse’s “Le Jardin”, is a pleasant but insignificant oil on canvas from 1920. It has however increased in value to $1 million (760,000 euros) over the course of its absence. The executive director at the Art Loss Register a Mr Marinello, negotiated the paintings safe return. ‘It is fantastic that the painting has turned up again,’ said Kristin Ek, spokesman for the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. ‘It was stolen so long ago that really we had almost given up hope. ‘We are happy the painting seems to be okay and in good condition,’ said Miss Ek. ‘It was a good start to the New Year.’
Stolen artwork has no real resale value in the legitimate marketplace. In most cases it will eventually resurface. “It’s just a matter of waiting it out”, the ALR added. The Art Loss register has existed since 1991. Since starting the data base the ALR has recovered more than £160million worth of stolen art works.