Prized Van Gogh painting stolen in Laren museum burglary

Vincent van Gogh's De Lentetuin
Vincent van Gogh's De Lentetuin, known in English as The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring. Painted in 1884. Groninger Museum, on loan from Municipality of Groningen.Photo: Marten de LeeuwCourtesy of Gronginger Museum

A Van Gogh masterpiece was stolen during an early morning break-in at the Singer Museum in Laren, museum officials confirmed Monday afternoon. The theft of the painting, called "De Lentetuin," shocked and angered museum management, they said during a press conference.

"I am extremely pissed off that this happened. This is a huge blow," said museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm. "This is extremely difficult, especially in these times."

De Lentetuin was on loan from the Groninger Museum. Painted in 1884, it portrays the garden of the Dutch Reformist Church in Nuenen, where Van Gogh's father was the Vicar.

Groninger Museum director Andreas Blühm said the real victims were "the Dutch people." He said they would fight tooth and nail to recover the stolen artwork. "We are not deterred. We will ensure that it is back as soon as possible," Blühm stated.

The break-in happened at around 3:15 a.m., the police said. Investigators were at the scene all day, where the large glass door at the front of the building was busted open. After the burglar alarm was tripped, officers headed straight for the museum," police said. The perpetrators were nowhere to be found.

Authorities were also speaking to local residents. They called on anyone who noticed anything suspicious around the museum to come forward.

The museum said its security met all requirements put forward by its insurers. They said they would review security and investigate where improvements can be made.

The Singer Museum contains paintings by Piet Mondriaan and Jan Toorop among its collection of three thousand pieces. The museum has been closed to the public for some time, due to restrictions in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19.

Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for the museum confirmed the break-in to RTL Nieuws. "I can confirm that there was a break-in, but in the interest of the investigation I can make no further statements about it," the spokesperson said to the broadcaster. "The police should now be able to do their work in peace."

Located in Laren, Noord-Holland, the Singer Museum was also targeted by burglars at the beginning of 2007. Seven statues were stolen from the museum's garden during the January theft, including a bronze cast of Robin's The Thinker. It was found significantly damaged days later.

The Singer Laren museum in Laren
The Singer Laren museum in LarenPhoto: Singer Laren / Wikimedia Commons

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