Paintings have been stolen and recovered throughout art history, but few have been quite as popular with art thieves as Two Laughing Boys with a Mug of Beer by Frans Hals. The painting has just been stolen for the third time, according to the BBC.
The Dutch Golden Age piece, which Hals painted in 1626, disappeared again from the Hofje van Mevrouw van Aerden in Leerdam last week. After its theft and recovery in 2011, the museum had added extra security measures for its protection, but apparently it wasn’t enough.
Though an alarm went off at the museum at about 3:30 in the morning last Wednesday, it failed to deter the thieves, who were long gone with the painting before anyone arrived at the scene.
There’s some speculation that the painting may have been “stolen to order,” says the BBC, quoting art detective Arthur Brand. It may be tied to a string of thefts by criminals who have exchanged valuable stolen art for shorter prison sentences over the last couple of decades.
The first time the piece was stolen was in 1988, it took three years to recover it. The 2011 theft only resulted in a six-month search. Hopefully whenever the painting makes its way home this time, it’ll be there to stay.
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