Saturday 17 April 2021

Missing Van Gogh found in private safe by Spanish tax officials

The Spanish tax office has discovered a painting by Vincent van Gogh which went missing in Vienna 40 years ago, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.

The painting was in a safe which was seized by tax inspectors in lieu of a tax debt, the NRC quoted the Spanish press as saying.

Experts have concluded the signature on the painting is Van Gogh’s although this still has to be confirmed by the Spanish ministry of culture, El Mundo says.


The painting is a landscape with cypress trees made in around 1889. It may have been painted when Van Gogh was in an institution in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, when he painted more works with cypress trees, including The Starry Night.

It hung in Vienna University’s art history institute and it is unclear how it ended up in Spain, the paper says. The owner of the safe says he was given the painting to look after by a foreign millionaire who brought it to Spain in 2010.

The back of the painting carries stamps from three ‘respected institutes’, El Mundo says. One is from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam dated April 8, 1944, one from the Museum der Schöne Künste in Berlin (no date given) and one from the Viennese institute in 1974.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.