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30 Mar, 2020 15:18

Corona heist? Van Gogh painting stolen overnight from Dutch museum

Corona heist? Van Gogh painting stolen overnight from Dutch museum

A painting by Dutch master Vincent van Gogh has been stolen from a museum in the Netherlands closed due to Covid-19. The piece was on temporary loan, with officials of both museums expressing exasperation over the theft.

Painted in 1884, "Lentetuin," or "Spring Garden," was snatched from the Singer Laren Museum on Sunday evening, according to the Dutch media. At around 3:15 a.m. a glass door of the museum was shattered, triggering the alarm. Police rushed to the scene, but found no trace of the painting or the perpetrators.

"We are shocked and incredibly angry about this," said Singer director Jan Rudolph de Lorm, as cited by the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

The artwork was created by van Gogh when he lived with his parents in Nuenen and belongs to the collection of the Groninger Museum. It was in Laren as part of an exhibition of works by Dutch artists called "Mirror of the Soul", which opened in mid-January.

Andreas Bluhm, the director of Groninger, said he hoped the piece would be returned "as soon as possible and undamaged," and that there were a lot of "bitter feelings" about its theft.

The entire museum, including the special exhibition, were closed to the public last week until June 1, as the Netherlands — along with many other nations around the world —  battles the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak. Online tours of the site have been offered to art lovers instead.

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Despite the quarantine, Singer management insisted that security measures at the museum were in line with the recommendations of insurance experts. Dutch police are analyzing forensic evidence in the hope that it will help identify the art thieves.

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