Van Gogh painting stolen from Dutch museum during coronavirus shutdown

Carla Harmon
March 30, 2020

A painting by Vincent van Gogh has been stolen overnight from a museum where it was being displayed on loan.

This handout picture released on March 30, 2020 by the Groningen Museum shows Vincent van Gogh's 1884 painting "Parsonage Garden at Neunen in Spring" which was stolen from the Singer Laren Museum in Laren, about 30 kilometres southeast of Amsterdam, closed to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum's director. Its director, Jan Rudolph de Lorm, told reporters he was "incredibly pissed off" over the theft.

Police were called to the scene immediately to investigate the matter, before the announcement was made later in the afternoon.

"This attractive and moving painting by one of our greatest artists stolen - removed from the community", he added. 'This is terrible for the Groninger Museum, for Singer Laren and for all of us.

The stolen painting depicts a woman in a garden with sparse red-flowered bushes and the church building in the background.

It dates to a time when the artist had moved back to his family in a rural area of the Netherlands and painted the life he saw there, including his famous work "The Potato Eaters", in mostly somber tones.

Police said on Monday there had been a break in at the Singer Laren Museum at 03:15 local time (02:15 GMT). That set off an alarm that sent officers rushing to the museum but by the time they got there the painting and whoever stole it were gone.

It was in Laren as part of an exhibition of works by Dutch artists called "Mirror of the Soul", which opened in mid-January.

Despite the quarantine, Singer management insisted that security measures at the museum were in line with the recommendations of insurance experts.

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