stolen picasso
Sotheby's featured some of Picasso's portraits of Dora Maar but the stolen painting has never hung in a museum. (Oli Scarff/Getty Images)
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Picasso Painting Stolen in 1999 Recovered in Amsterdam

The investigator who recovered the piece may not receive payment for his work, but he doesn't mind.

An art crime investigator in the Netherlands said Tuesday that he recovered Pablo Picasso’s 1938 painting “Portrait of Dora Maar,” which was stolen from the yacht of the Saudi Arabian man who owned it back in 1999.

Arthur Brand, an independent art detective based in Amsterdam, handed the painting over to an insurance company two weeks ago, he told The New York Times.

Brand had been on the case since 2015 with many empty leads along the way, until, he said, he was contacted by “two persons with good contacts in the underworld,” who said the painting was in the Netherlands.

“They told me, ‘It’s in the hands of a businessman who got it as payment, and he doesn’t know what to do with it,’” Brand said. “I talked to the two guys and we made a plan to get it out of his hands.”

The unknown sources then dropped the masterpiece off at Brand’s house in Amsterdam in two plastic garbage bags, he said. “They delivered it right to my door.”

The investigator said they toasted to the returned painting and he gave in to the urge to hang the Picasso on a wall. “The urge was too great; I couldn’t resist,” he said.

Brand said that he will probably receive no payment for recovering the artwork.

“At the time there was a reward offered of 400,000 euros and I don’t know if the reward will be paid,” he said. “If there is a reward, it should go to the people who brought it in. My reward was to have a Picasso on my wall for one night. I can tell you, it was great.”

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