Wednesday, August 25, 2010

DAMage Report - Arts Day: Gogh, Gogh, Gone

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On Saturday a Van Gogh painting was stolen from a Cairo museum. Then it was reportedly found. And now.... it’s lost again.  Even the recovery is being fumbled like an episode in a comedic sitcom.

The theft of the $55 million Vincent van Gogh painting in Cairo has the art world casting an incredulous eye at Egyptian museums. Only seven out of 43 security cameras were functioning and none of the alarms attached to the museum’s paintings was working. Apparently the security hasn't been working since 2006. The Van Gogh "Poppy Flowers" is one of 304 oil paintings and 50 sculptures in a collection valued at over $1.2 billion.  The robbers climbed on a sofa and cut the picture out of its frame with a box cutter. This same Van Gogh painting was stolen in 1978 and recovered two years later in Kuwait. Egypt may have a little difficulty now in convincing Western museums to return what it considers pilfered works. 

Lots of finger pointing included the deputy culture minister being arrested, along with four guards the guards who were accused of “negligence and failing to carry out their employment duties." Nine other officials from the culture ministry were  prevented from traveling from the country. It seems that if the security hasn't been working since 2006 that there is a long line of people who fell asleep on the security desk.


Unknown said...

Four years with no security to protect that much valuable art is ridiculous.

Lakota said...

It is, Odie - especially since they are spending millions on rennovations on other museums. you would think they would address key problems like I don't know - SECURITY - in existing ones first.

btw - thanks for all your lovely comments recently - i've been running so fast i hadn't had a chance to wave hi until now. :D