Two Stolen Van Gogh Paintings Back on View For First Time in 17 Years

The paintings were swiped in 2002

Van Gogh paintings
Two paintings were returned to the Van Gogh museum. (AFP/ Mario Laporta/ Getty)
AFP/Getty Images

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Two Vincent Van Gogh paintings that were stolen from a museum 17 years ago have been returned to public viewing.

The Dutch painter’s pieces, View of the Sea at Scheveningen and Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen, were swiped from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam ini 2002, CNN reported, when a ladder was used to access the gallery’s roof.

Authorities recovered the paintings in 2016 after a 14-year-long search linked the robbery to the Italian mafia. The museums’ staff then spent two years examining the damage done to the paintings, restoring and conserving them. On Wednesday, they went back on view.

“We are delighted to be able to put these significant works in our collection back on display in the museum, where they belong,” museum director Axel Ruger said in a statement. “The conservators have done a brilliant job and the paintings will now go back on permanent display in their full glory, for everyone to see.”

The restoration process for one of the paintings, View of the Sea at Scheveningen, — one of Van Gogh’s earliest works in oil paint — was tedious and included new technology that fills in missing pieces of paint using a 3D-printed mould that replicates the original brushstrokes.

Each painting was finished with a new frame since the thieves tore the originals off when they were stolen.

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