Monday, April 6, 2020

Van Gogh painting stolen from Singer Laren Museum


Singer Laren is a museum and concert hall located in the center of Laren, the Netherlands. The museum is devoted to presenting and preserving the collection of the American artist William Henry Singer (1868–1943) and his wife Anna.

William Henry Singer was the son of a steel baron of the same name who sold his company Pittsburgh Bessemer Steel Co. to Andrew Carnegie. Against the wishes of his father, young Singer became an artist and after marrying Anna Spencer-Brugh in 1895, he moved to Monhegan, Maine to join the artist colony there. His father was disappointed that he chose art rather than business and insisted he earn his living as an artist.   In 1954 Singer's widow founded the Singer Memorial Foundation, and in 1956 the museum designed by the Dutch architect Wouter Hamdorff  was opened in their home on the Oude Drift, with a new concert hall attached.  The museum is in news now for wrong reasons during Covid-19 breakdown.

Loving Vincent is a 2017 biographical animated drama film about the life of painter Vincent van Gogh. It is the first fully painted animated film. It is written and directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, and is being produced by Hugh Welchman and Sean Bobbitt of BreakThru Films and Ivan Mactaggart of Trademark Films.  Each of the film's 65,000 frames is an oil painting on canvas, using the same technique as Van Gogh, created by a team of 115 painters. The film premiered at the 2017 Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Vincent Willem van Gogh (1853 – 1890) was a Post-Impressionist painter of Dutch origin whose work, notable for its rough beauty, emotional honesty, and bold colour. After years of painful anxiety and frequent bouts of mental illness, the much acclaimed painter of now, died aged 37 from a gunshot wound, generally accepted to be self-inflicted. He began to draw as a child, and he continued to draw throughout the years that led up to his decision to become an artist. In just over a decade, he produced more than 2,100 artworks, consisting of 860 oil paintings and more than 1,300 watercolours, drawings, sketches, and prints. His work included self portraits, landscapes, still lifes, portraits as well as paintings of cypresses, wheat fields and sunflowers.

In 1885, he painted his first major work, entitled The Potato Eaters. His palette at the time consisted mainly of somber earth tones and showed no sign of the vivid coloration that distinguished his later work. In March 1886, he moved to Paris and discovered the French Impressionists.  The extent to which his mental health affected his painting has been a subject of speculation since his death.  The precise chain of events that led to the celebrated incident of van Gogh slicing off his ear is not known reliably in detail. In one evening of Dec 1988, Van Gogh severed his left ear (either wholly or in part; accounts differ) with a razor, inducing a severe hemorrhage.  By some accounts, he bandaged his wound, wrapped the ear in paper, and delivered the package to a brothel frequented.


spring garden by van gogh

The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen (De pastorie in Nuenen), alternatively named The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring, is an early oil painting by Gogh, created in May 1884 while he was living with his parents in Nuenen.  The painting was in the collection of the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands from 1962 to 2020. On 30 March 2020, it was stolen from an exhibition at the Singer Laren museum in Laren, North Holland, Netherlands.

The painting was stolen from the Singer Laren museum on 30 March 2020, Van Gogh's birthday. The painting had been on loan from the Groninger Museum.  At the time of the theft, the museum was closed to the public due to  coronavirus pandemic. Police said the thieves broke through the glass doors around 3:15 a.m. and left before law enforcement responded to the alarm.   Museum director Jan Rudolph de Lorm said, "I'm shocked and unbelievably annoyed that this has happened."  In past decades, 28 Van Gogh paintings have been stolen in the Netherlands, but all have been recovered.

It is reported that thieves took  advantage of the distraction provided by the public health situation to steal a prize Vincent van Gogh painting from a museum in the Netherlands. Under cover of darkness, the bandits targeted the Singer Laren museum in Laren, east of Amsterdam, and made off with the Dutch master’s The Parsonage Garden at Nuenen in Spring (1884) while the institution was closed to the public.  The thieves smashed a large glass door at the front of the museum to access the building. Police reached the scene after the museum’s alarm was triggered, but the perpetrators had vanished by the time they arrived, according to a statement from the local authorities.

To add insult to injury, the painting does not even belong to the museum—it was on loan from the Groninger Museum in Groningen, the Netherlands, according to the police. The 1884 work  was painted when Van Gogh was living in Neunen, where his father was a pastor, between 1883 and 1885, and depicts the ruins of the village church, which the artist could see from his father’s house.   Police have launched a criminal investigation and are reviewing security footage and questioning local residents. They have also launched a broader appeal for information and are requesting any security footage captured by other cameras in the neighborhood. Laren is one of the most affluent towns in the Netherlands. It is unclear whether anything else was stolen from the Singer Laren’s 3,000-piece collection.

Most Dutch museums shuttered on March 14 in an effort to preserve public health; the Singer Laren museum is closed until June 1.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
6th Apr 2020.


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