AGENCIES, Holland: Taking advantage of the lockdown enforced by the Dutch authorities, thieves raided Singer Laren museum in town of Laren and made off with Van Gogh painting without any resistance. The circa 1884 painting called Lentetuin, or Spring Garden, depicting the spring garden of the rectory at Neunenhad been on loan from the Groninger Museum.
The 25cmx57cm oil on paper painting shows a person standing in a garden surrounded by trees with a church tower in the background.
The Singer Laren museum east of Amsterdam said painting by the Dutch master was taken in the early hours of Monday. The break-in triggered an alarm but the smart thieves escaped by the time police showed up.
By early afternoon, all that could be seen from the outside of the museum was a large white panel covering a smashed door in the building’s glass facade. The Singer Laren Museum is closed due to the coronavirus. The value of the painting painted by the master in his early 30s is not currently known.
Van Gogh’s paintings, when they rarely come up for sale, fetch millions at auction.
“I’m shocked and unbelievably annoyed that this has happened,” said Singer Laren museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm.
“This beautiful and moving painting by one of our greatest artists stolen – removed from the community,” he added. “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.”
A team including forensics and art theft experts was studying video footage and questioning neighbours.
Van Gogh, who struggled with mental illness throughout his life, was staying with his parents when he painted Spring Garden in Nuenen in 1884.