Valuable painting lost at German airport found in dumpster

Chief detective Michael Dietz from the Düsseldorf police is holding the painting by the French surrealist Yves Tanguy, which was salvaged from a dumpster. Police Duesseldorf via AP

BERLIN – A surrealistic painting worth more than a quarter of a million euros that a businessman forgot at Düsseldorf Airport was recovered from a nearby recycling dumpster, the police said on Thursday.

The businessman, whose identity was not disclosed, accidentally left the painting by French surrealist Yves Tanguy at a check-in counter when boarding a flight from Dusseldorf to Tel Aviv on November 27.

When he landed in Israel and contacted the police in Düsseldorf, the cardboard-wrapped work of 280,000 euros had disappeared.

Despite several emails with details about the 16 x 24 inch painting, the authorities could not find the artwork, said police spokesman Andre Hartwig.

It was only after the businessman’s nephew from neighboring Belgium traveled to the airport and spoke directly to the police that an inspector was able to trace the painting back to a paper recycling dumpster used by the airport’s cleaning company.

“This was definitely one of our happiest stories this year,” said Hartwig. “It was real detective work.”

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