Art | July 24, 2022 5:09 pm

Did a German Art Thief Lose the Painting She Stole?

An art heist takes an unexpected twist

Museum Huelsmann
Huelsmann Museum, former directors villa of the Ravensberg spinning factory.
Werner OTTO/ullstein bild via Getty Images

On April 27, a woman walked into the Museum Huelsmann in Bielefeld, German and walked out with a 461-year-old painting. That work of art in question was Pieter Aertsen’s Portrait Of A Young Lady, which was completed in 1561. As for what the woman’s motivations were, however, law enforcement was unclear.

Much of the coverage of the theft focused on what reports referred to as the “strikingly attractive” appearance of the apparent thief. But having an image of what she looked like released to the media did not help efforts to locate the painting. Now, a new twist in the case has answered some questions while raising others.

As ARTnews revealed in a new article, a woman has come forward and confessed to the crime. The report doesn’t reveal her name, only that she’s 31 years old. She did indeed steal the painting, she told authorities — but then she lost it later that same day.

According to the article, someone who knows the woman looked through her apartment in an attempt to find the lost painting; they were unable to do so. While there’s now an acknowledged culprit for the theft of the painting, the motivations behind it remain unclear.

And there’s an even larger question looming overhead: exactly where is the Aertsen painting now?