Van Gogh painting stolen in raid from museum closed due to coronavirus

(NEW YORK) — A painting by Vincent Van Gogh has been stolen after burglars broke into a Dutch museum that is closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Van Gogh’s “The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring,” painted in 1884, was taken from the Singer Laren Museum, which lies just outside Amsterdam, in the early hours of Monday morning, the director of the museum said. The painting was stolen on what would have been the Dutch master’s 167th birthday.

Staff at the museum said that they are “shocked and unbelievably annoyed” about the theft during a press conference that was live-streamed online.

The painting has now been added to the international Interpol list of stolen artworks, police said. The authorities have so far not issued a statement about how much the artwork might be worth.

The authorities at the Groninger Museum are aware of the theft of the Van Gogh painting, and said they are “shocked” by the news that the painting was taken. The painting was on loan from the Groninger to the Singer Laren.

Potential buyers should now be aware that the painting has been stolen, police said. The authorities are appealing for information from the public to assist their investigation.

The burglars broke into the museum at about 3:15 AM local time, according to police. Images from the scene of the burglary show that the glass doors at the front of the museum were smashed during the break-in.

Arthur Brand, an independent Dutch art crimes investigator who was responsible for recovering a Picasso painting that had been missing for two decades, told ABC News that while the painting wasn’t one of Van Gogh’s best known works, it still had the potential to fetch millions on the black market.

“This was done by professional thieves,” he said. “I hope we will find them before they manage to sell the painting to the top criminals.”

The Singer Laren will be closed until at least June 1 in order to minimize the risk of visitors spreading the novel coronavirus, although the museum’s director continues to post videos online that discuss the museum’s best known paintings in order to keep the public engaged.

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