Chief Detective Michael Dietz of the Duesseldorf police holds the painting by French surrealist Yves Tanguy that was recovered from a dumpster. Polizei Duesseldorf via AP

BERLIN — A surrealist painting worth more than a quarter million euros that was forgotten by a businessman at Duesseldorf’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 Duesseldorf to Tel Aviv on Nov. 27.

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

Despite multiple emails with details about the 16-by-24-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 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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