German police have retrieved a Surrealist painting worth more than $300,000 from a paper-recycling dumpster at Düsseldorf Airport.
The picture by French artist Yves Tanguy, estimated to be worth around €280,000 ($339,000), was accidentally left behind by a businessman at Duesseldorf’s airport.
The abstract landscape first went missing on November 27 when the unnamed businessman accidentally left it at a check-in counter before he boarded a flight to Tel Aviv, Israel.
The artwork, painted in earthy tones, was packaged in a flat cardboard box measuring around 16 x 24 inches.
Upon his arrival in Israel, he realized his mistake and contacted the airport authorities to find the lost property, according to German police.
When this was unsuccessful, he enlisted the help of his nephew who traveled to the airport from Belgium and talked with police. An inspector was able to trace the painting to a recycling dumpster used by the airport’s cleaning company.
“This was definitely one of our happiest stories this year,” police spokesman Andre Hartwig said. “It was real detective work.”