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One man's trash

Precious painting lost by Tel Aviv-bound man found in dumpster

After businessman forgets piece by French surrealist Yves Tanguy, his nephew travels to Dusseldorf airport to search for the painting, uncovering it in a paper recycling bin

In this photo released by the police department in Duesseldorf on Thursday December 10, 2020, showing Chief Detective Michael Dietz holding a painting from French artist Yves Tanguy.  (Polizei Duesseldorf via AP)
In this photo released by the police department in Duesseldorf on Thursday December 10, 2020, showing Chief Detective Michael Dietz holding a painting from French artist Yves Tanguy. (Polizei Duesseldorf via AP)

BERLIN — A surrealist painting worth more than a quarter-million dollars that was forgotten by a businessman at Dusseldorf’s airport has been recovered from a nearby recycling dumpster, police said Thursday.

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

By the time he landed in Israel and contacted Dusseldorf police, the 280,000-Euro ($340,000) oeuvre, which had been wrapped in cardboard, had disappeared.

Despite multiple emails with details about the 40×60-centimeter (16X24-inch) painting, authorities could not locate the artwork, police spokesman Andre Hartwig said.

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

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

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