Van Gogh painting stolen from Dutch museum closed due to coronavirus

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Vincent van Gogh’s painting “Spring Garden” was stolen from a Dutch museum after the building was closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the museum announced Monday.

Museum director Evert van Os said the painting, on loan from the Groninger Museum, was stolen in the early hours of Monday morning from the Singer Laren Museum, an institution east of Amsterdam that housed American couple William and Anna Singer’s collection, The Associated Press reported.

Van Os said the institution is “angry, shocked and sad” over the theft, which is currently under investigation by local police. The museum’s collection focuses on modernist movements such as pointillism, cubism, expressionism and neo-impressionism.

The institution was hosting an exhibition titled “Mirror of the Soul” in cooperation with the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam at the time of the closure, with the exhibition including works by artists such as Mondrian and Toorop, the AP reported.

“This beautiful and moving painting by one of our greatest artists stolen — removed from the community,” he added. “It is very bad for the Groninger Museum, it is very bad for the Singer, but it is terrible for us all because art exists to be seen and shared by us, the community, to enjoy to draw inspiration from and to draw comfort from, especially in these difficult times.”

The thief or thieves set off an alarm by smashing a glass door, but had vanished with the painting by the time police responded at the scene, according to the AP.

Another of the museum’s most famous pieces, a bronze cast of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker,” was stolen along with six other works from its sculpture garden in 2007 and was later recovered minus a leg.

The Netherlands has seen more than 11,000 cases of the coronavirus as of Monday morning, with 864 deaths.

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