A $200,000 painting went missing from Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne… 12 years ago.
So, uhm… did they only just notice, or what?
Apparently, the gallery wanted to make perfectly sure that it didn’t falsely accuse a museum staff member of theft when they could have simply misplaced it. So it searched for Richard Parkes Bonington’s Low Tide at Boulogne for 12 years before finally reporting it stolen.
The 1824 piece most likely went missing during 1999 renovations, when the gallery’s 65,000 pieces were relocated. Last year, Dr. Gerard Vaughan, the gallery director informed the Victorian government that “a painting in the state collection, previously considered misplaced, is now suspected to have been stolen. [...] In all likelihood, this painting is no longer in our possession.”
Thanks to a freedom of information request, the gallery was finally able to report the painting stolen after some 8 years of searching for it. How big of a blow is this to the artistic community? An Australian art academic noted that the missing piece isn’t exactly iconic, and that it was an easy miss for gallery visitors.
“If you have an absolute passion for romantic French landscapes, you could be quite upset not to see this work,” said Sasha Grishin, a professor of art history at the Australian National University.
So, dear reader – do you have the missing piece?