Stolen Van Gogh Drawing Is On Public Display


(MENAFN- AzerNews) A stolen Van Gogh drawing found near a public toilet 20 years ago is on public display, Azernews reports.

Although Van Gogh`s watercolors are rarely exhibited to minimize fading, they are now on display at the Royal Academy of Arts in London at the exhibition "Impressionists on Paper: from Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec", which will last until March 10, 2024.

In the early morning of April 27, 2003, three works were stolen from the Manchester Whitworth Gallery. Along with Van Gogh`s painting "Fortifications of Paris with Houses" (1887), Paul Gauguin's "Tahitian Landscape" (1891-93) and Pablo Picasso's "Poverty" (1903) were taken out.

A day later, after a phone call, they were found at a closed public toilet building located 200 meters away on the edge of a small park, next to soaked leaves and garbage. It was a rainy day and a police statement described the weather as "extremely bad" and that the thief had bypassed the gallery's security system. Hence, there was an assumption that the incident could have been "work from the inside." It is still a mystery whether the theft was committed by someone who really wanted to draw attention to the flaws in the security system, or quickly realized that it would be difficult to get rid of the works. It is even possible that they had remorse. In any case, security measures were immediately tightened at the Whitworth Gallery. But even twenty years later, no one was charged with theft.

It is not surprising that the "Fortification of Paris with houses" suffered. On the right side, there was a tear 12 cm thick, creases, and minor paint losses. Fortunately, the damage was not much more serious. The watercolor was restored a few months after the theft, and now the damage is barely visible to the naked eye.

"Fortifications of Paris with Houses" is a scene on the northern outskirts of the capital, a little more than a kilometer north of the apartment that Vincent shared with his brother Theo. In 1926, the watercolor was bought for 157 pounds by the owner of the Manchester Cotton Company, Thomas Barlow (1883-1964), who immediately donated it to Whitworth. When a Van Gogh painting was loaned for an earlier exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1962, it was insured for 7,500 pounds. Her current valuation is confidential, but she is certainly worth several million.

The exhibition "Impressionists on Paper: from Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec" also presents five other works by Van Gogh: "Entrance to the City Credit Bank on Lombard Street in The Hague" (March 1882, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam), "Thatched Roofs" (March 1884, Tate, London), "A peasant woman carrying wheat in an apron" (July-August 1885, Kreller-Muller Museum, Otterlo), "Bust of a Young Warrior" (March-May 1886, Van Gogh Museum) and "Thistle on the Roadside" (August 1888, Van Gogh Museum).

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