Vermeer's The Concert

Vermeer's The Concert

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Stolen Art Watch, Van Gogh In De-nial, Cairo Calamity !!

Update over at Art Hostage:

Thieves steal Van Gogh painting from Cairo museum

CAIRO — The Egyptian minister of culture says a painting by Vincent van Gogh valued at $50 million has been stolen from a Cairo museum.

The poppy flower painting was taken from Cairo's Mr & Mrs Mahmoud Khalil Museum, which is situated in a large villa on the banks of the Nile, a ministry statement said.

see link for history:

The museum is home to one of the Middle East's finest collections of 19th and 20th century art put together by the politician Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil, who died in 1953.

Among works at the museum are pieces by Gauguin, Monet, Manet and Renoir.

Farouk Hosni says police are searching for unknown suspects who lifted the painting from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum on Saturday. The artwork is identified as the Dutch impressionist's "Vase and Flowers" on the museum's website.

Hosni said that authorities at all of Egypt's air and sea ports have been notified and that an investigation is under way at the museum

Art Hostage Comments:

Called the Boomerang Van Gogh, Poppy Flowers had been stolen before, In 1978, the same painting was stolen, but was returned shortly afterwards. It was reputed to be have been recovered in Kuwait after the thieves made a deal and got paid a ransom. One year later, 1979, a duplicate was sold for $43 million in London, sparking a debate in Egypt whether the returned painting was, in fact, a fake.

1979, h'm Islamic revolution in Iran.

Thieves got lucky, well almost, as the most valuable painting in the collection is , Gauguin’s Life and Death, followed closely by the Van Gogh Poppy Flowers, or vase with flowers.

The number two's got the number two so to speak !!!

The Van Gogh has been on tour around the globe, there's a clue already.............

Already news breaking from the Global Underworld the intention is to use the Van Gogh as collateral for arms and weapons, not drugs, not ransom, weapons.

Iran being the ultimate destination of this Van Gogh as deals on stolen art for weapons has a historic Iranian history. Madonna was in Iran and I don't mean a concert !!!

I reckon authorities have 24/48 hours to recover this Van Gogh..........

Check Diplomatic bags, cut out of its frame, rolled up and good to go Diplomatically !!

Check the border with Gaza !!!

Why did thieves leave the most valuable painting
, Gauguin’s Life and Death ?

Because Islamic law forbids artwork showing figures, so next best thing and second most valuable painting in the
Mr & Mrs Mahmoud Khalil Museum Collection is the Van Gogh, Poppy Flowers, and what comes from Poppies, Heroin.

Back in the 80's there was an influx of Iranian Heroin in western Europe smuggled in tee shirts and clothing, impregnated with the heroin. The Iranian links keep on coming.

Nine paintings of 19th Century Egyptian ruler Mohammed Ibrahim Pasha were stolen from the same museum last year, but found 10 days later dumped outside.

(shhh, but money exchanged hands last year before these paintings were handed back)

Update 8.00pm:

Two Italians have been arrested trying to smuggle a $50m Vincent Van Gogh painting out of Cairo today, officials said this evening.

Minister Farouk Hosni says airport security confiscated the priceless painting from two Italians just hours after the artwork was 'cut from its frame' at the Mahmoud Khalil Museum in the Egyptian capital.

Airport security caught a young Italian man with the painting by the Dutch post-Impressionist master and also detained his companion, a young Italian woman.

Saturday's total of visitors had been only 11 at the museum, some Spanish and Russian visitors had been searched, nothing found so the attention focused on the Italians.

Security had tracked down visitors to the museum and the Italian couple had been suspected after an employee spotted them visiting a bathroom then swiftly leaving.

Further Update,10.00pm:

A Van Gogh painting worth an estimated $55 million (35.4 million pounds) was stolen from a Cairo museum on Saturday and after reporting it had been recovered, the state news agency quoted a minister as saying it was still missing.

Citing Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, the MENA news agency reported that security had caught a young Italian man with the painting by the Dutch post-Impressionist master at the airport and also had detained an Italian woman with him.

Later the agency, which said the painting was worth an estimated $55 million, issued another statement from the minister saying "measures were continuing to recover the painting," which according to the Arabic statement was called the "Poppy Flower."

The minister said information that initially had been given about its recovery was "not accurate and was not confirmed until now by the responsible agencies." He made similar comments to a state television channel.

It was not immediately clear how the confusion over the painting's fate arose.

The painting earlier in the day had been taken from Cairo's Mahmoud Khalil Museum on the banks of the River Nile.

The state news agency MENA had said security had tracked down visitors to the museum and the Italian couple had been suspected after an employee spotted them visiting a bathroom then swiftly leaving.

Update Sunday:

SECURITY cameras and alarms at the museum in Cairo, Egypt, from where a Van Gogh painting valued at more than $A56 million was stolen had been out of order "for a long time", an official says.

"The cameras had not been working for a long time, and neither had the alarm system," the security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, adding that no image of the painting was therefore available.

"We don't exactly know how long they had been out of order, but it was a long time. The museum officials said they were looking for spare parts (for the security system) but hadn't managed to find them," by the time the theft took place, he said.

Egypt's top prosecutor says security lapses are to blame for the theft of a Vincent van Gogh painting from a Cairo museum.

Prosecutor general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud says none of the alarms and only seven out of 43 surveillance cameras at the Mahmoud Khalil Museum were functioning Saturday when the painting was stolen.

“Each painting in the museum has an alarm. Not a single alarm for any painting is working.” He declined to reveal the timing or the method of the theft.

The Italians had been arrested and later released.

Prosecutor general Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud told Egypt's state news agency Sunday that the thieves used a box cutter to remove the painting from its frame. He blamed the theft on the museum's lax security measures, calling them "for the most part feeble and superficial."

He said the museum guards' daily rounds at closing time were inadequate and did not meet minimum security requirements to protect internationally renowned works of art.

Mahmoud also said his office had warned Egypt's museums to implement stricter security controls after nine paintings were stolen last year from another Cairo institute, the Mohammed Ali Museum. Similar security lapses were to blame in that theft.

Fifteen Egyptian officials, including the director of the Khalil museum, Reem Bahir, and the head of the fine arts department at the Ministry of Culture, have been barred from leaving Egypt until the investigation into the painting's theft is complete, Mahmoud said. He did elaborate.

Bahir refused to comment on the prosecutor general's statements, saying only that the investigation was still under way.

The Opera House was victim to thefts last year, but security pressures forced criminals to return the stolen paintings.
(After payment of course)

Art Hostage Comments:

Oops, gone again !!

Have they checked the mail, tubed up Pink Panther style, repeat style.

Please, no laughing, but this proves the Art Hostage title,

"Cairo Calamity"

Adding to the museum’s troubles today, a crowd of news photographers and cameramen attempting to take pictures of the prosecutor stumbled over a statue of Cupid, which shattered on the marble floor of the entrance courtyard, sparking cries of despair from museum staff.

“Another disaster!” shouted one female museum worker, hands on her head in disbelief.

If box cutters were used then the Van Gogh may still be attached to its stretcher and the canvas was not cut from frame as first reported. This will hopefully limit the damage.

Coming soon,

the Art Hostage Iran files on handling stolen art,

.exchanging weapons for holding stolen art.................

It's Showtime !!!

Will everyone just, "Take it Easy":

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