Art is treasure – and like other things of value, notable works are always at a threat of theft. Some art is stolen by burglars to be resold at a profit, some to scam insurance companies and yet more for political reasons. Art pieces are taken from their rightful homes during wars and sometimes confiscated by governments and dictators.
Many art pieces were stolen during the Second World War and locations of quite a few stolen by the Nazis still remain dubious. According to some estimates, Hitler stole more than 750,000 works of art during the war. At times, art was sold to people and original owners wanted them back but it is difficult to establish who the rightful owner is there.
To gather and return art to its rightful owners, the allies formed a group of men, called The Monuments Men. They were pivotal is recovering stolen art pieces and returning them to those they belonged to. The group still exists today and is responsible for connecting stolen art pieces that surface to their rightful owners.
Rewards are also offered for recovering and returning stolen paintings. Some paintings have been missing for more than a decade but are still valuable. For example, Lucian Freud’s Francis Bacon was stolen in 1988 and a reward of 132,000 euros is offered to anyone who can find and return it. Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee, stolen in 1990 offers a whooping reward of 3.2 million euros. Van Gogh’s Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuene disappeared in 2002 and finders can expect a reward up to 870,000 euros.