Precious painting lost in airport found in dumpster

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Chief detective Michael Dietz holds a painting by French artist Yves Tanguy. A businessman lost the canvas, which later turned up in a dumpster. (Courtesy of the Düsseldorf police)

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 Düsseldorf police, the cardboard-wrapped work of 280,000 euros had disappeared.

Despite several emails with details of the 40 x 60 centimeter painting, the authorities could not find the work of art, 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 for more information that an inspector was able to trace the painting back to the paper recycling dumpster used by the airport cleaning company.

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

A painting by the French artist Yves Tanguy. (Courtesy of the Düsseldorf police)

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