It’s no secret that most museums around the world are closed due to the coronavirus. That might be bad news for museumgoers, but for thieves and burglars, it represents a golden opportunity. Van Gogh’s “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring” was stolen from the Singer Laren museum in Laren, Netherlands, early on Monday morning.
Reportedly, thieves smashed a glass door in the museum and fled with the painting minutes later. Although an alarm was triggered, police arrived too late to apprehend them. As no staff was on the premises, the break-in was likely accomplished with greater ease than would normally be the case.
“We are deeply shocked, angry and saddened,” said Jan Rudolph de Lorm, the director of the Singer Laren museum. “A magnificent and poignant painting by one of our greatest artists has been taken from the community. It is terrible for the Groninger Museum and for Singer Laren, but above all for every one of us. Art exists to be shared, to enjoy, to inspire and offer comfort, particularly in times such as these. Art is vital to our culture.”
The painting had been on loan to the Singer Laren museum from the Groninger Museum, also in the Netherlands, who said in a statement, “The 1884 work, oil on paper on panel (marouflage) is the only painting by Van Gogh in the Groninger Museum’s collection. The Groninger Museum is shocked by the news. Because of the police investigation, it must decline further comment on the matter.”