Cairo, Egypt: Egyptian police recover stolen Van Gogh painting

Egyptian police recover stolen Van Gogh painting

AFP/File – Two Italians were arrested at Cairo airport trying to smuggle out a Van Gogh painting stolen from a museum …
By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, Associated Press Writer Hadeel Al-shalchi, Associated Press Writer – 14 mins ago
CAIRO – Police recovered a painting by Vincent van Gogh at Cairo airport Saturday, hours after it was stolen from a museum in the Egyptian capital, the country’s culture minister said.

Farouk Hosni 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 painting, which Hosni said was valued at $50 million, was stolen earlier Saturday from Cairo’s Mahmoud Khalil Museum.

The painting goes by two names, “Poppy Flowers” and “Vase with Flowers,” according to the museum’s director, Reem Bahir.

This is the second time the piece by the Dutch-born postimpressionist has been stolen from the Khalil museum. Thieves first made off with the canvas in 1978, before authorities recovered it two years later at an undisclosed location in Kuwait.

Officials have never fully revealed the details of that theft. When it was recovered, Egypt’s then-interior minister said three Egyptians involved in the heist had been arrested and informed police where the canvas was hidden. Authorities never reported whether the thieves were charged or tried.

The one-foot-by-one-foot 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.

Most of the canvasses for which van Gogh is remembered were painted in 29 months of frenzied activity before his suicide in 1890 at age 37.

Experts have said they believed the Cairo canvas was painted around 1887.

Other works in the Khalil collection, all from the 19th-century French school, are by Paul Gauguin, Gustave Courbet, Francois Millet, Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir and Auguste Rodin.

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