Over 400 stolen artworks by Karel Appel found in British warehouse

Posted February 15th, 2012

Art Theft, Expressionism, Netherlands

More than 400 works of art by a celebrated 20th-century Dutch artist have been found in a British warehouse a decade after they disappeared, leaving the artist distraught.

The Guardian: “Karel Appel, a leading expressionist, died at 85 in 2006. He never recovered from the loss of a lifetime’s worth of drawings, sketches, notebooks and other works believed to be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The warehouse was bought by a UK storage and logistics company before Christmas and, in clearing out the contents, staff came across eight boxes filled with artworks. There was no documentation and it was not until a warehouse employee researched the name Karel Appel, whose notes and signatures appear on most of the works, that the company realised the boxes were worth more than mere salvage.

Unaware of their real significance, but intrigued, a manager took some 30 drawings to Bonhams, the auctioneers, to be valued. To their astonishment, they were told that these were on the Art Loss Register’s (ALR) computerised database of “most wanted” stolen art.

Christopher Marinello, ALR’s lawyer and chief negotiator, said: “After five weeks of intense negotiation with the logistics company … a settlement was finally reached with the company agreeing to release their claim to the artwork.”

Read on at The Guardian

Photograph of Karel Appel by Nico Delaive/AP