16 Years Later, Stash of Stolen Paintings Found Near Crime Scene

One of the stolen paintings ended up at auction.

This painting by Carl Vilhelm Holsøe showed up in the U.S., and led to the thief in Denmark.

The Art Loss Register announced yesterday, March 14, that a stash of stolen paintings was located in Denmark 16 years after their theft. The paintings were found with the help of local police only 50 miles from the scene of the crime.

Last fall, a painting that had gone missing from a private residence in Denmark re-surfaced at an auction in the United States. The work, by the Danish painter Carl Vilhelm Holsøe—which was consigned by a Danish auction house—came up on the Art Loss Register (ALR) in a routine search of the auction catalogue.

Working together with the Danish police, the ALR were granted a warrant to search the original consignor’s residence, who first sold the painting to the Danish auction house, located just an hour away from the place of theft. 

There, police found seven additional paintings that had been reported stolen from the same private residence over 16 years ago. 

With the Danish police unable to find either the paintings or the thief when the theft of eight paintings was initially reported in December 2000, an insurance company paid out the loss and the works were registered in the ALR’s database for lost and stolen art.

When the Holsøe painting came up during a routine search as part of the auction house’s due diligence, the ALR notified the auction house, the insurer, and the Danish Police.

After seizing the remaining seven artworks, the Danish police returned them to the insurer as the rightful owner, while the portrait by Holsøe remained in the U.S. auction for the benefit of the insurer.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics