CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide

Stolen Painting Returns to Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen After Sixty Years

Almost sixty years ago, a fifteenth century panel depicting The Birth of Mary was stolen from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. It was rediscovered by a German collector at the end of 2017, and now it returns to the museum.

Curator Friso Lammertse with the recovered painting (photo: Aad Hoogendoorn)

The theft of 27 December 1960 was followed by an international search, search warrants and a promised reward of 2500 guilders. After two years the search was discontinued, and with the insurance money the museum acquired another panel,┬áThe Annunciation,┬áfrom the same altarpiece. Both panels are currently displayed in the exhibition┬áBabel – Old Masters Back from Japan┬á(until 21 May). It is presumably the first time in centuries that the two paintings are shown side by side.

The altarpiece about the life of Mary from which the two panels stem, must have consisted of at least four other paintings. Curator Friso Lammertse welcomes any information about the other panels, which he says are fairly recognizable by the gilded framework.