In a matter of minutes, a priceless Vincent van Gogh artwork was stolen from the Singer Laren Museum near Amsterdam in an overnight heist last month. The Dutch police have now shared the CCTV footage of the incident, wherein the thief can be seen cruising to the museum on a motorbike and raiding the place with a sledgehammer in the wee hours of March 30.
Operating alone, the thief went straight to the Dutch artist's The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring 1884 and was out of the site in a blink of an eye through the museum gift shop. The Singer Laren was shut at the time owing to a lockdown of public places in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
The 1.15 minutes clip has been doing rounds on social media, with many people shocked over the lax security at the Amsterdam museum. The police hope that the wide circulation of the heist footage will help them track the art thief.
https://t.co/hG1GLob01P— Abhishek Mishra (@nimble_abhi) April 23, 2020
This is crazy! Vincent Van Gone in seconds! Can't believe this happened!
One of the lesser-known works of Vincent van Gogh, the Parsonage Garden was at the Singer Laren for exhibition on loan from another Dutch museum in Groninger, Netherlands. Jan Rudolph de Lorm, Singer Laren Museum Director during a live press conference on YouTube, had expressed his shock and anger at the theft.
“They knew what they were doing, going straight for the famous master,” Jan Rudolph de Lorm told reporters. Van Gogh's 'Parsonage Garden' has been valued up to $6 million in the art market, as per reports. The art was stolen on what would have been the 20th-century painter’s 167th birthday.
Interpol also tweeted about the theft, stating that they have added the painting to their Stolen Works of Art Database.
ART THEFT: This Van Gogh painting has been stolen from a Dutch museum closed due to the #COVID19 lockdown.— INTERPOL (@INTERPOL_HQ) March 31, 2020
More proof that criminals don't take breaks and will use any situation to their advantage.
We have added the painting to our Stolen Works of #Art database. pic.twitter.com/PXT6jQNjxg
As per international media reports, the artwork was a part of Singer Laren's Mirror of the Soul exhibition that displayed over 70 Dutch paintings in oil and watercolours that focus of modernist themes such as neo-impressionism, pointillism, expressionism, and cubism.
Unfortunately, this wasn't the first time the influential Dutch artist's work has been stolen. According to a report, as many as 30 van Gogh multimillion-dollar paintings have been stolen in the Netherlands since 1988. However, most of them have been recovered over time.
As per reports, two of Van Gogh’s artwork - View of the Sea at Scheveningen and the Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church at Nuenen - were recovered in 2016 during a raid at the house of a mafia drug in Italy.
Other important imports stolen van Goghs include Poppy Flowers, Blossoming Chestnut Branches, The Fortification of Paris with Houses, Breton Women, Weaver's Interior, Four Cut Sunflowers and The Potato Eaters among others as per the Van Gogh Gallery records.
According to the FBI's National Stolen Art File, which keeps a record of stolen artwork and culturally-significant property, about $6 billion worth of art is stolen every year, making underground art business the third-most lucrative criminal enterprise around the globe after narcotics and the arms trade.