Father-and-Son Duo Are Caught With 15 Stolen Georg Baselitz Paintings Worth Millions

The three suspected thieves worked in the shipping industry.

Georg Baselitz. Photo: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images.

German authorities in Munich have recovered 15 stolen paintings and drawings by Georg Baselitz valued at €2.5 million ($2.97 million).

A 39-year-old man from Düsseldorf stands accused of stealing the works between June 2015 and March 2016 from the storage facility of a shipping company outside of Munich, where he worked as a driver. Two additional suspects, a 51-year-old man and his 26-year-old son, are accused of attempting to sell the stolen works.

The suspects have not been named, in line with German privacy laws, although prosecutors said in a press release that all three worked for the shipping industry.

Police began investigating when an insurance company became suspicious after the father and son tried to sell one of the artworks far below market value. When investigators discovered that the work in question was stolen, several other stolen works soon came to light. In an email to artnet News, a representative from the Munich prosecutor’s office said investigators could not identify or reveal any details of the works, citing the ongoing investigation and the wishes of the artist.

The trio was uncovered following intensive investigations throughout the German and international art scene, with the cooperation of investigators throughout Europe.

Tasked with tracking the primary suspect as he traveled abroad, the Bavarian state police traced the man with the help of Spanish and French investigators. He was eventually apprehended upon returning to Germany.

Baselitz is one of Germany’s most celebrated and expensive artists. According to artnet’s Price Database, the painter’s auction record stands at $9 million.

Four additional stolen works by artist—valued at a combined €130,000 ($155,000)—have yet to be recovered.


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