For anyone struggling to wait for the big screen-adaption of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch later this year, you need wait no longer, Dutch detective Arthur Brand has made it happen IRL.
For the past four years, the detective has been in hot — if relatively slow — pursuit of Portrait of Dora Maar, a Picasso painting that was last seen aboard the yacht of a Saudi sheikh back in 1999.
Prior to that, it’d hung on the wall of the artist’s house until his passing in 1973. Major news outlet CNN reports that, “the case baffled French police and it was feared that the artwork had been lost forever until rumours emerged that the painting had surfaced on the Dutch black market.”
Now worth just over £21 million, the painting was brought in a bin bag to Arthur’s Amsterdam apartment by two men described as “intermediaries”. Experts then flew in to verify it as a real and original work by one of the 20th century’s great artists. Having confirmed that, yep, the painting in Arthur’s possession was indeed Portrait of Dora Maar, the work was then handed over to an insurance company. Such is life.
It transpired that for the past 20 years, the Picasso piece has been used as collateral in various drug and arms deals across the continent.
This isn’t Arthur Brand’s first rodeo; as Sky News notes, the Dutch detective with a nose like a bloodhound’s “previous finds include a pair of bronze horses sculpted for Adolf Hitler and a Byzantine mosaic of Saint Mark taken from a church in Cyprus.”