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Stolen Van Goghs Recovered in Italy

FILE - A self portrait by Vincent van Gogh.
FILE - A self portrait by Vincent van Gogh.

The Netherlands' Van Gogh Museum says Italian police, investigating organized crime, have recovered two paintings by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh stolen from the museum in 2002.

A statement on the museum's website says: "Despite a 14-year journey, the two paintings appear to be in fairly good condition. Both lack their frames and show signs of some damage."

The two paintings are "Seascape at Scheveningen" and "Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church in Nuenen."

The museum says Seascape is "a striking example of Van Gogh's early style of painting" and is one of only two seascapes Van Gogh painted during his period in The Hague from 1881 to 1883.

Congregation is a small canvas depicting the church where his father was the minister. Van Gogh painted it for his mother in 1884, but in 1885, after his father's death, Van Gogh added churchgoers to the foreground, including women in shawls worn in times of mourning.

Police say the paintings were discovered during a raid against a crime organization.

The artwork will remain in Italy during an ongoing investigation and subsequent trial.

The museum statement says "we will have to exercise a little bit more patience" before the canvases are returned to the museum.