Saturday, 21 August 2010

Vincent van Gogh painting recovered after being stolen from Cairo museum

A self-portrait by Vincent van Gogh. Egyptian officials are on the hunt for a painting of his that was stolen from a museum in Cairo. Photograph: Fiona Hanson/PA

Thieves broke into a museum in central Cairo and made off with a painting by Vincent van Gogh valued at $50 million (£32 million) – but officials recovered the artwork within hours.
Farouk Hosni, Egypt's minister of culture, said security officers at Cairo airport confiscated the painting from two Italians – a man and a woman – as they were trying to leave the country. No further details were immediately available.
The artwork, which goes by two titles: Poppy Flowers or Vase with Flowers, was stolen earlier on Saturday from Cairo's Mahmoud Khalil Museum.
It was the second time the painting had been stolen from the Cairo museum. Thieves made off with the canvas in 1978, but authorities recovered it two years later at an undisclosed location in Kuwait.
Authorities have never fully revealed the details of the first theft. When it was recovered, Egypt's then interior minister said three Egyptians involved in the heist had been arrested, and had informed police where the canvas was hidden. Authorities never reported whether the thieves were charged or tried.
The painting resembles a flower scene painted by the French artist Adolphe Monticelli, whose work deeply affected the young van Gogh. The Monticelli painting also is part of the Khalil collection.
Experts believe the Cairo canvas was painted around 1887

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