A Swiss museum said two works were missing after the fire | Aici

GENEVA – A prominent Swiss art museum says two 17th-century paintings are missing after hundreds of works were displaced in a small fire last August.

Zurich’s Kunsthaus museum said it reported the disappearance of the works, two small paintings by Flemish painter Robert van den Hoecke and Dutch Golden Age artist Dirck de Bray, to police.

The museum explained that more than 700 works were removed for cleaning and restoration after the fire in the building overnight until August 3, 2022.

Until the beginning of 2023, two of these elements will be “unexplorable”, Kunsthaus said in a statement.

“Internal checks failed,” he said, adding that “since the theft could no longer be ignored, Kunsthaus filed a complaint with the police on January 13.”

The museum said it was assisting the police in their investigation, and hoped that the two works, which were painted in oak, plastered and covered with glass, would be found intact.

The works are now listed on the Art Loss Register, the world’s largest database of lost and stolen art, the museum said, adding that it had also begun its own investigation.

“Nearly three-quarters of our collection of paintings and sculptures is on permanent loan or private gift,” museum director Ann Demeester said in a statement.

“These works are currently missing despite the great security measures that have left us shaken,” he said, adding that the museum had set up a crisis team to address the situation.

“Apart from restoring the paintings, the aim is to learn from this tragic incident.

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