Van Gogh Painting Reportedly Stolen from Dutch Museum in Overnight Heist
A painting by the famous Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh was stolen from a museum on his birthday, about an hour north of where he was born.
According to The Associated Press, Netherlands police reported that “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring” was taken from the Singer Laren Museum at about 3:15 a.m. on Monday.
The suspect broke into the front of the museum via a glass door, which was replaced with a white panel on Monday afternoon.
The art thief has not yet been found. The museum alarms were set off by the break-in, but police were not able to find anyone inside or around the building by the time they appeared at the scene.
According to the AP, the exact value of the painting is not known at this time.
But in the rare instance that they are sold, paintings by Van Gogh are auctioned off for millions of dollars.
The piece, which is part of the collection of the American couple William and Anna Singer, was loaned from the Groninger Museum in the Dutch city of Groningen.
Vincent van Gogh. (1853-1890). The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884.
HBD to long-suffering Vincent van Gogh whose work below was stolen early this morning from the Singer Laren museum east of Amsterdam, currently closed due to corona virus. pic.twitter.com/f3GFbJLi1T
— Bridget Quinn (@bquinnterest) March 30, 2020
Museum General Director Evert van Os said the museum is “angry, shocked, sad” regarding the theft.
“I’m shocked and unbelievably annoyed that this has happened,” Singer Laren museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm said. “This beautiful and moving painting by one of our greatest artists stolen — removed from the community.”
“It is very bad for the Groninger Museum, it is very bad for the Singer, but it is terrible for us all because art exists to be seen and shared by us, the community, to enjoy to draw inspiration from and to draw comfort from, especially in these difficult times.”
The museum has been closed since March 12, when the prime minister of the Netherlands ordered all museums and theaters to close to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, NBC News noted, adding to the AP report.
As of Monday, there have been 11,817 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 864 confirmed deaths in the Netherlands, according to Johns Hopkins.
According to the AP, the theft is being investigated by art theft experts and a team of forensics, who have been studying video footage of the area and interviewing nearby residents.
The museum’s security went off “according to protocol,” Van Os said, but “obviously we can learn from this.”
This isn’t the first time that the Singer Laren Museum has experienced a break-in.
Seven sculptures, including a bronze cast of “The Thinker” by Auguste Rodin, were taken from their sculpture garden in 2007. According to the CBC, the thieves got in through the garden fence by smashing it with a vehicle.
The sculpture was found a few days later, though the leg of the figure was missing.
This is also not the first time a Van Gogh painting has been stolen.
A number of the famous painter’s works have been stolen in high-profile thefts over the years. While most of them were eventually returned, some of them are still missing, including “Poppy Flowers,” which was stolen in 2010 and has yet to be found.
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