Dutch museum says van Gogh painting stolen in overnight raid

Police said the thieves had forced the building's glass front doors open

Van Gogh's paintings, when they rarely come up for sale, fetch millions at auction.

The overnight theft of a Vincent van Gogh masterpiece has left officials at the Netherlands' Singer Laren museum "angry, shocked [and] sad", according to statements released Monday morning.

"Parsonage Garden at Neunen in Spring" comes from relatively early on in Van Gogh's career, before the prolific artist embarked on his trademark post-impressionist paintings such as "Sunflowers" and his vivid self-portraits.

The museum closed on March 12 along with other museums and theaters at the direction of Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The value of the painting has not been revealed.

It is not immediately known how much the painting might be worth, but the Associated Press reports that works by van Gogh, when they rarely go on sale, fetch well into the millions.

There did not seem to have been anything lacking in terms of security procedures.

"I am extremely outraged that this happened", said Jan Rudolph de Lorm, the museum's director, at a news conference Monday. It is awful for the Groninger Museum and also for Singer Laren, but especially for all of us.

It was the third time the famous Dutch master's works have been targeted in the Netherlands since the 1990s, Dutch art detective Arthur Brand said. He also noted that "art exists to be seen and shared". The thieves breaking the glass door triggered an alarm, alerting police, but the authorities weren't able to get there in time to catch the intruders.

Before the closure, the museum was hosting an exhibition titled "Mirror of the Soul", in cooperation with Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.

In a statement, a police spokesman for the Gooi and Vecht region said art robbery experts from the national criminal investigation department would help in the investigation.

The valuable artwork was taken from the Singer Laren museum, which had been locked down in compliance with coronavirus measures. In 2007, seven statues were stolen from the museum's sculpture garden, including a cast of Auguste Rodin's The Thinker.



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