The art world is full of breaking news this week.
In Italy, two stolen Van Goghs paintings were found after 14 years following a raid on a Naples-based mafia group.
And closer to home, the General Services Administration Office of the Inspector General in San Francisco recovered two paintings stemming from the 1930s that belong to the federal government and ended up in the hands of people in Sacramento and Petaluma.
These paintings, showing dreary landscapes of the Great Depression, may not have the same panache of Van Gogh. But they do belong to the United States, as they were commissioned by the Works Progress Administration, or WPA, to rebuild the country with social programs, and pay unemployed artists, first enacted by President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s and ’40s.