On Thursday, August 27, thieves stole a valuable painting by Dutch Golden Age master Frans Hals from a small museum near Utrecht. The painting “Two Laughing Boys with a Beer Jug” seems to have become a favorite of criminals: it had been stolen twice before.
According to the Dutch police, thieves broke into the museum early in the morning, breaking in the back door. The alarm went off, but when the patrol arrived at the place around 3:30 am, the intruders disappeared with the painting.
Law enforcers consult with criminologists and experts on the theft of works of art. They also look through CCTV footage and ask the public for any information on the case.
Laughing Boys” was first stolen in 1988 together with Jacob van Reisdahl’s painting “View of the forest with flowering elderberry”. Then it took three years to find the paintings. In 2011, the same paintings were stolen again – and returned after six months.
According to Dutch media reports, after the second theft, the museum has strengthened security measures. Visitors are allowed to inspect the work of Hals and other valuable works from the collection only under supervision. Now the Hofier van Arden Museum is closed because of the pandemic.
According to the British edition of The Guardian, the price of the painting is 17.1 million dollars. This is much higher than the most expensive work by Hals, sold at a public auction. In 2008, for the portrait of Willem van Heitheissen, the buyer has put at auction 14 million dollars.
“Two Laughing Boys with a Beer Jug” is a typical painting for Frans Hals. A couple of pink boys enjoying the drink, some scientists consider part of the series “Five Senses”. The vision is presented here, as the central character is in a mug, and his companion looks over his shoulder.