He’s not called “the Indiana Jones of the art world” for nothing.
Ace art researcher Arthur Brand has tricked Nazi sympathizers into coughing up swiped treasures, negotiated with Mafiosi over hot paintings and tracked down missing Byzantine mosaics.
Like his fictional film namesake, the Dutch-born sleuth says he has learned to deal with a global criminal underbelly and a level of danger not typically found in stuffy high-end galleries.
“These are people who kill when they see a need for it. So of course, I have to keep my word when I give it to them,” he told the Independent in a 2016 interview. “Because if I don’t, I might be in serious trouble.”
So far, Brand, 48, has come out on top.
It was revealed Tuesday that two weeks ago, he made another sensational recovery — of a $28 million Picasso painting missing for 20 years.
When two intermediaries delivered the precious cargo to Brand’s apartment in Amsterdam, it was wrapped in black garbage bags.
First, the trio toasted the painting. Then Brand called the cops.
But before the famed researcher relinquished the priceless work, he said, he had to do one thing.
“I hung the Picasso on my wall for a night, thereby making my apartment one of the most expensive in Amsterdam for a day,” he quipped to Agence France-Presse.
Brand has helped solve some of the world’s most fascinating and high-profile heists of everything from statues commissioned by Adolf Hitler to a multimillion-dollar Salvador Dali painting.
In 2015, he became a household name — at least among art geeks — when he duped a group of Nazi sympathizers into revealing the whereabouts of “Hitler’s Horses,” two massive bronze statues commissioned by the Führer himself.
The statues had stood guard on either side of the doorway to the German Reichstag building and were thought to have been bombed to smithereens during World War II. They were recovered from a warehouse on a rented property in a tiny bucolic town in western Germany.
The next year, he helped recover two multimillion-dollar pieces — including Dali’s mind-bending surrealist artwork “Adolescence” — which had been snatched from a Dutch museum by a masked gang in 2009. The other painting, Polish Art Deco painter Tamara de Lempicka’s “La Musicienne,” was featured in Madonna’s music video “Vogue.” It later sold for $1.5 million.
Last year, Brand was hailed as an art-world hero once again when he tracked down a Byzantine mosaic of Saint Mark, which had been swiped from a church in Cyprus in the 1970s.
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SOURCE: New York Post, Natalie O’Neill and Kate Sheehy