A Vincent van Gogh painting stolen from a museum in the Netherlands during a COVID-19 lockdown has been found.
The rectory garden in Nuenen in the spring, also known as the Spring Garden, was snapped from the Singer Laren museum, about 30 km (19 miles) east of Amsterdam, on March 30, 2020, when the attraction was closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Twenty smashed glass doors during an overnight raid to take the 1884 artwork, which was on loan from the Groninger Museum in the city of Groningen, about 180 km (112 miles) from the Dutch capital.
It has “suffered, but is — at first glance — still in good shape,” Groninger said.
Director Andreas Bluhm said in a statement: “The museum is extremely happy and relieved that the work is back.
“We are very grateful to everyone who contributed to this good result.”
The museum also singled out Dutch art researcher Arthur Brand for his “key role in this case” – but declined to provide further information on how the painting was found.
“The police have been closely involved in all phases (of the recovery of the painting),” the museum added.
The oil painting, which is temporarily stored at the Van Gogh Museum in the Dutch capital, will be the subject of scientific examination in the coming months.
The value of the painting has not been disclosed.
An insurance company paid the Groninger Museum for the loss and is now the formal owner, although the museum has said it will exercise its right of first purchase of the work.
It hopes to display the painting soon, but it could take “weeks, if not months”.
The 25cm by 57cm (10in by 22in) creation depicts a person standing in the garden of the vicarage in Nuenen – a Dutch town where Van Gogh’s parents lived – surrounded by trees with a church steeple in the background.
It dates from a time when Van Gogh had moved back to his family home and painted the life he saw there, including his famous work, The Potato Eaters.
Later, the Dutch post-impressionist painter moved to the south of France before his death in 1890.