Police have launched a criminal investigation and are reviewing security footage after a painting by Vincent van Gogh was stolen during the early hours of Monday morning from The Singer Laren museum in the town of Laren in Holland. The public gallery is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Van Gogh’s “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring” was stolen in an overnight raid. The painting dating from 1884 was on loan from the Groninger Museum in the city of Groningen, another art institution. The intruders are said to have entered the premises by breaking through a glass door at around 3.15 a.m. local time,
The well documented early canvas was painted in Nuenen when the artist was living with his parents between 1883 and 1885. It depicts the garden of the parsonage they lived in where his father served as a pastor. It also shows the ruins of an old church that featured in several other Van Gogh works from the period.
“I am shocked and unbelievably pissed off,” museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm said during a press conference Monday afternoon. “It is very bad for the Groninger Museum. It’s also awful for Singer.”
“But above all it is horrible for all of us because art is there to be seen and shared by all of us, for society as a whole, to bring enjoyment, to bring inspiration, and also to bring comfort. Especially in this difficult time,” he stated.
In a statement, Singer Laren’s managing director Evert van Os said: “Security at Singer Laren complies with the protocol. It has been coordinated with the insurance experts, with whom Singer Laren is currently in close consultation.”
Police stated that painting has now been added to Interpol’s stolen art database.
Museum Singer Laren has a surprising and diverse collection of international visual art from the period 1880 to 1950. This ‘classic modern’ collection has given the museum the freedom to set up a wide exhibition policy. This collection was set up by the American couple Anna and William Singer, who received many friends in their villa in Laren. There were often artists among these friends. Anna and William themselves were also creatively talented. Anna played the piano and William painted. Together, they collected an impressive art collection. Anna had the museum built after the death of her husband William.