Van Gogh painting stolen from Dutch museum during coronavirus closure
A painting by Vincent van Gogh was swiped from a museum in the Netherlands that has been shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic – leaving its director “pissed off,” officials said.
The Dutch master’s 1884 work, “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring,” which was on loan from the Groninger Museum, was stolen from the Singer Laren museum east of Amsterdam, according to CNN.
“I am shocked and unbelievably pissed off,” Singer Laren director Jan Rudolph de Lorm told reporters Monday. “It is very bad for the Groninger Museum. It’s also very bad for Singer.
“But above all it is horrible for all of us, because art is there to be seen and shared by all of us, for society as a whole, to bring enjoyment, to bring inspiration, and also to bring comfort. Especially in this difficult time,” he added.
General Director Evert van Os said he was “angry, shocked, sad” at the theft of the 10-by-22-inch oil on paper painting — one of a series made when the artist was staying at his father’s house – of a person standing in a garden surrounded by trees with a church tower in the background.
The painting’s estimated value is between one to six million euros, or about $1.1 million to $6.6 million, according to Agence France-Presse, which cited local media.
The thieves entered the museum by breaking open a front glass door, setting off an alarm that sent cops rushing to the site but arriving too late, according to police and local news outlets.
Van Os said the museum’s security worked “according to protocol,” but added that “obviously we can learn from this.”
Investigators and art theft experts were reviewing surveillance video footage and questioning neighbors.
The stolen work dates to a time when van Gogh had moved back to his family home, where he painted the life he saw there, including “The Potato Eaters.”
He later moved to southern France, where he developed a far more colorful, vibrant style of painting as his health deteriorated before he died in 1890.
The museum also has been targeted before in a high-profile theft.
In 2007, thieves stole seven works from its sculpture garden, including a bronze cast of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker,” which was recovered a few days later – but missing a leg.
With Post wires
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