Fifteen stolen artworks by neo-expressionist painter Georg Baselitz have been recovered by German authorities in Munich on Tuesday. The paintings are valued at about €2.5 million.
Three suspects are accused for the theft, a 39-year-old man as the leader and two more, a 51-year-old man and his 26-year-old son as accomplices. All three suspects worked for the shipping industry.
The investigation begun when the police was notified by an insurance company that the suspects were trying to sell one of the artworks at a very low price. Although the investigation is ongoing and the police cannot give any further information on the case, they did announce that they retrieved several stolen works when they realised that first one was stolen.
The case required the cooperation of German and international investigators. The primary suspect travelled abroad and the Bavarian state police needed the help of Spanish and French investigators to locate him and eventually arrest him upon returning to Germany.
As Anne Leiding, spokeswoman for Munich prosecutors, announced the recovered paintings have been taken to a safe place, but the exact location has not been announced.
Baselitz was born in 1938 and is still active today. A painter and sculptor, he was initially trained in social realism of Communist East Germany until he discovered abstract art in West Berlin. That’s when he became globally famous by leading a revival of neo-expressionist art. Today he is among the most celebrated and expensive artists of Germany.