Back to Say YES to Italy's heritage, our heritage

Italian heritage police recover stolen Gauguin and Bonnard from a Southern Italian kitchen


In 1970 two paintings, a Gauguin and a Bonnard, were stolen from a London home only to be abandoned on a train from Paris to Turin. The paintings, whose artists provenances were unknown at the time, turned up at a lost-property auction in 1975. They were bought by an art-loving Fiat factory worker, who was also unaware of the paintings' creators. He had only paid 45,000 Italian lire (23 euros) for these great works which are worth millions today. The man who had lived in Turin, loved these paintings and brought them to his home in Sicily upon his retirement and hung them in the kitchen. Recently the owner consulted with experts and contacted the heritage police after his son had pointed out the great similarity between a Bonnard painting which he found in a book and to the one which hung on his father's wall. It was then discovered that these paintings were those missing from the 1975 theft. The paintings now remain in the hands of the authorities as the previous owners had left no heirs, but are still waiting to receive an official notice that it was stolen. The Italian owner, however, hopes that the authorities will return the paintings that he loved so much as, "they were bought in good faith...Above all, they were bought through the state, and the institutions can't deny this.".


to comment