Museum Shuttered by Virus 'Shocked' by Theft

Vincent van Gogh painting taken from Singer museum in Laren
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2020 12:15 PM CDT
Museum Shuttered by Virus 'Shocked' by Theft
Journalists look at the damaged glass door of the Singer Museum in Laren, Netherlands, Monday March 30, 2020, where a Van Gogh painting was stolen.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

A Dutch museum that was closed because of the coronavirus pandemic had a very unwelcome visitor or visitors in the wee hours of Monday morning: a thief or thieves who made off with a Vincent van Gogh painting. The Independent reports the 1884 work, Spring Garden, was taken around 3:15am from Laren's Singer Museum, which describes itself as "angry, shocked, sad." The museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm expressed his anger more colorfully, saying at a Monday news conference that he was "incredibly pissed off." Adding insult to injury: The work on paper wasn't part of the museum's collection, but was on loan from the Groninger Museum, which is also located in the Netherlands; it's the only Van Gogh it possesses.

The AP reports a glass door was broken in the "smash-and-grab raid." That activated the alarm, but the painting was gone by the time responding officers arrived. CNN has more from de Lorm: "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." Art theft experts are said to be reviewing the museum's footage, and the NL Times quotes Groninger Museum director Andreas Blühm as saying they would fight hard for the painting's return. "We are not deterred. We will ensure that it is back as soon as possible." (This Van Gogh painting was recently deemed authentic.)

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