Christa found stolen Flemish master on the beach

Over four decades ago Christa Verledens discovered a work by the Ostend master James Ensor on the beach at Mariakerke (Ostend).  For the first time she has now spoken of her discovery.  The work now features at the Het Kunstuur exhibition in Mechelen.

Het Kunstuur recently launched an appeal to hear from people who had discovered works of art.  Christa didn’t hesitate to contact the organisation.

It was her wedding anniversary and she had planned a daytrip to the family seaside resort of Mariakerke, outside Ostend, with her husband and children.  “We were kitted out with buckets and spades and soon started digging on the beach”.

Imagine her surprise when she discovered a parcel bearing the name Ensor and containing a stolen painting by the Ostend master. We anxiously looked around and then quickly returned to the car to find a blanket in which to wrap the work”. 

Christa then immediately headed for the nearest police station. The reward she received allowed her to pay for a new terrace!

Christa’s story is only one of numerous accounts at Het Kunstuur’s fourth exhibition.  Works by thirty Belgian painters are on show accompanied by stories about the works.  All works date from the century following 1850 and hail from museums but also from private collections where they usually remain unseen by the public at large.

Top stories