For 40 years, five top-class paintings stolen during the spectacular Gotha robbery were considered lost. The paintings by Frans Hals, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Anthonis van Dyck, Jan Lievens and Hans Holbein the Elder had been taken from the Friedenstein Castle in Gotha on the night of December 14, 1979. For decades, they were considered missing and remained on the international wanted list.
On December 6, 2019, the Schloss Friedenstein Foundation Gotha announced that these works may have reappeared after 40 years. In July 2018, anonymous persons approached Knut Kreuch, then chairman of the foundation council as well as current mayor of Gotha, via a lawyer to offer the five paintings for sale. Since then, he has conducted negotiations to return the art treasures with the utmost discretion, with financial and technical support from the Ernst von Siemens Art Foundation. In September 2019, the paintings were handed over in Berlin in order to verify their authenticity in cooperation with the Berlin State Office of Criminal Investigation. These three-month studies, in which scientific experts and the Rathgen research laboratory of the State Museums in Berlin were involved, have now been completed and the negotiations have led to an agreement. The results as well as the five paintings will be presented at two press conferences in Berlin and Gotha.
The five pictures will be transferred to the Stiftung Schloss Friedenstein in Gotha, where they will be exhibited in the Ducal Museum from Monday, 20 January at 2 pm until Sunday, 26 January 2020 and then restored.
Press conference Gotha:
January 20, 2020, 11.30 a.m.
Herzogliches Museum Gotha, Schlossplatz 2, 99867 Gotha