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Stolen Van Gogh: Art detective receives photos of 'stolen work Spring Garden'

What is believed to be the missing painting is shown next to a dated copy of the New York Times and a book Image copyright AFP
Image caption Arthur Brand says he received the photos of the painting a few days ago

An art detective in the Netherlands says he has received two "proof of life" photos in the hunt for a stolen Van Gogh painting.

The 1884 artwork Spring Garden went missing after a break-in at a museum near Amsterdam in late March.

Arthur Brand, a specialist in recovering lost art, told the AFP news agency he had received two dated photos he believes show the stolen painting.

According to AFP, the work is valued at up to €6m (£5.3m; $6.6m).

Mr Brand, who has been described as the "Indiana Jones of the art world", said he was given two photos of the missing painting a few days ago.

While he did not explain how he had received the images, he said that they represented "the first 'proof of life' we have that the painting still exists", adding that thieves often destroy valuable pieces of art because of the difficulties involved in reselling them.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption A label reportedly on the reverse of the painting was said to show its authenticity

One of the photos was said to show a detail on the back of the painting that proved its authenticity. Both photos are shown together with a copy of the New York Times newspaper from 30 May.

Mr Brand said a book shown alongside the painting could be an attempt to implicate a Dutch burglar who stole two paintings from Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum in 2002, but added that the man was in hospital during the latest theft.

Spring Garden, also known as Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring, was on loan to the Singer Laren Museum when it was taken. The museum had been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Media captionOther works by Van Gogh have been stolen, and were later recovered

Earlier this week, a letter written by Vincent Van Gogh and fellow author Paul Gauguin detailing their visits to brothels sold at auction for €210,600.

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