Sibiu exhibition looks at 1968 'great theft' from Brukenthal Museum's art collection
The Brukenthal Museum in Sibiu will host an exhibition looking at the 'great theft' from the institution's art collection in 1968.
That year, eight paintings were stolen from the Brukenthal Palace. The investigation was completed in 1972 with an 'author unknown' conclusion.
Four works - Aelbrecht Bouts, Self-Portrait; Titian, Ecce Homo; Frans van Mieris the Elder, Man with a Pipe at the Window and Rosalba Carriera, Portrait of a Woman - were recovered in 1998 with the help of Interpol. They can be seen today in the permanent exhibition of European painting.
Four remain missing - Anthony van Dyck, Death of Cleopatra; Christoph Amberger, Portrait of a man; Jörg Breu, Portrait of a man; and German Anonymous (possibly Hans Holbein the Younger), Portrait of a man.
The exhibition aims to present the events of the case starting from the night of May 26 to 27, 1968, and the "recovery of the memory of the four lost paintings with the help of museum-specific documentation," the curators explain. It uses materials such as archival photos and conservation sheets from the 1960s, data from the inventory register and traces of the paintings' existence, such as the stretcher from which the canvas of the Death of Cleopatra was cut or the frame of Christoph Amberger's Portrait of a Man. Also on display are both original photographs and their large-scale printed image, capturing aspects of the exhibition in Brukenthal Palace where some of the stolen paintings were displayed.
"Brukenthal National Museum aims at using this opportunity for awareness-raising on heritage importance and uniqueness. The abuses on artworks are a reflection of the abuses people inflict on each other. When a painting is stolen or destroyed, not only the owner suffers the loss but generations of visitors and their access to culture; it is a current theme on which we all have a duty to meditate," a presentation of the exhibition reads.
The exhibition, curated by Dana Roxana Hrib and Alexandru Constantin Chituță, opens on December 12 at Casa Albastră/Blue House, Multimedia Hall (in Sibiu's Grand Square). It is open until February 26, 2023.