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Stolen painting worth $1.5 million found in raid

Police have recovered a painting by Swedish writer and painter August Strindberg that was stolen from a Stockholm museum two years ago and arrested two suspects, authorities said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Police have recovered a painting by Swedish writer and painter August Strindberg that was stolen from a Stockholm museum two years ago and arrested two suspects, authorities said Friday .

Police found the 19th-century painting “Svartsjukans Natt,” or “Jealousy’s Night,” during a raid of a home in a Stockholm suburb late Thursday, police spokesman Lars Alm said.

The painting was stolen from Stockholm’s Strindberg Museum in a daylight heist in February 2006, when three thieves removed it from the wall while distracting museum staff.

The dark abstract rendering of a stormy sea at night has an estimated auction value of more than $1.5 million.

Alm said the two men arrested in the raid were suspected of theft or receiving stolen goods.

The painting appeared to be in good condition, the Strindberg Museum chief Stefan Bohman said, adding that police would return it to the museum after completing their investigation.

“The glass, the frame and the canvas are all whole,” Bohman said. “It means a lot that it’s back. The painting is a central piece in Strindberg’s production and in Strindberg’s life.”

Strindberg, one of Sweden’s most famous novelists and short-story writers, painted the work in 1893 in Berlin. It is believed to have been an engagement gift to his second wife, Frida Uhl.

Strindberg died in 1912. His most famous works include the play “Miss Julie” and the novel “The Red Room.”

Several European museums and galleries have been the victims of major art heists in recent years. In one of the most dramatic, thieves stole four paintings by Cezanne, Degas, van Gogh and Monet worth $163.2 million from a Zurich museum last month.