From 21 March 2017, Van Gogh’s 'Seascape at Scheveningen' and 'Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen' will resume their place in the museum’s permanent collection. After 14 years these stolen paintings return to the Van Gogh Museum.
22 March- 15 May 2017
From 22 March until 15 May 2017 a special exhibition revolving around the recovered paintings is on view in the Van Gogh Museum. After that, the paintings will be restored.
Recovered in Naples
On 30 September 2016 we announced that two missing Van Gogh paintings have been recovered in the district of Naples, Italy. It concerned the two paintings that were stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in 2002.
The stolen paintings were recovered during a massive, continuing investigation commissioned by the Italian Public Prosecutions Department, conducted by a specialized Guardia di Finanza team, the team investigating organized crime.
Major art historical value
The art historical value of the paintings for the collection is huge. Seascape at Scheveningen is the only painting in our museum collection dating from Van Gogh's period in The Hague (1881-1883). It is one of the only two seascapes that he painted during his years in the Netherlands and it is a striking example of Van Gogh's early style of painting, already showing his highly individual character.
Great emotional value
Congregation leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen is a small canvas that Van Gogh painted for his mother in early 1884. It shows the church of the Reformed Church community in the Brabant village of Nuenen, Van Gogh's father being its Minister.
In 1885, after his father's death, Van Gogh reworked the painting and added the churchgoers in the foreground, among them a few women in shawls worn in times of mourning. This may be a reference to his father's death. The strong biographical undertones make this a work of great emotional value.
The museum collection does not include any other painting depicting the church. Moreover, it is the only painting in the Van Gogh Museum collection still in its original stretcher frame. This frame is covered in splashes of paint because Van Gogh probably cleaned his brushes on it.
Museo di Capodimonte
The paintings will be on display at the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples until 26 February, after which they will come back to the Van Gogh Museum. This represents the return to Amsterdam of important pieces of the Dutch cultural heritage.
Axel Rüger, director Van Gogh Museum:
‘We are currently in the midst of preparations for the festive return of the two paintings. This happy event should be celebrated in style with all of our Van Gogh fans, so we are extending a warm invitation to all Dutch citizens and art lovers worldwide to join us in commemorating the paintings’ homecoming!’’