VAN GOGH PAINTING STOLEN FROM MUSEUM SHUT BY CORONAVIRUS

In an overnight robbery at Singer Laren Dutch museum, about 30 kms southeast of Amsterdam, thieves smashed the entrance glass door and stole a painting by Vincent Van Gogh, early morning yesterday. It appears to be a “smash-and-grab robbery, as the painting, “Parsonage Garden in Nuenen, Spring” from 1884, was the only artwork stolen.

It is part of the permanent collection of the Groninger Museum in the North Netherlands, and was in Laren Museum on a loan, part of the exhibition “Mirror of the Soul”, an exhibition of more than 70 Dutch paintings. The Museum had been closed to the public earlier this month, because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is still unclear whether the overnight security staff and measures had been reduced because of health concerns. The alarm did go off, but burglars had fled by the time the police arrived.

NOT A FIRST IN THE NETHERLANDS

This is not the first time that Van Gogh paintings have been stolen in the Netherlands in recent decades. In 1991, thieves managed to put their hands 20 pieces from Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum, worth altogether some $500 million… One robber had hidden in the museum until after closing and then let an accomplice in. However, their plan had fell apart when their escape car had a flat tire; so they abandoned their loot.

In 2016, Italian police recovered two Van Gogh in a house south of Naples that belonged to a drug smuggler. These two artworks had been stolen in 2002 also in Amsterdam.

Coincidentally – or not – the painting taken yesterday was stolen on Van Gogh’s birthday: he was born on March 1853.

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