Century-old Swiss museum doesn’t know where it kept two high-value paintings

What do a Swiss Museum and a five-year-old have in common?


Unless that Swiss museum happens to misplace two paintings, or in their words, the painting have become “untraceable.”

Kunsthaus Zürich: “We misplaced artworks worth a minimum of five figures like we would lose our pens.”

According to Artnet, a Swiss museum, Kunsthaus Zürich has lost a pair of old master artworks after having them cleaned last year.

The two 17th-century paintings—Robert van den Hoecke’s Soldiers in the Camp (no date) and Dirck de Bray’s Daffodils and Other Flowers in a Glass Vase on a Marble Slab (1673) were declared “untraceable” by the museum.

The museum isn’t sure if it has misplaced the paintings or if someone stole them.

Robert van den Hoecke, Soldiers in the camp (mid-17th century). Courtesy of the Kunsthaus Zürich.
Dirck de Bray, Daffodils and Other Flowers in a Glass Vase on a Marble Slab (1673). Courtesy of the Kunsthaus Zürich

How do you lose high-value artwork worth five to six figures and still need to check if it is still in your possession?

A century-old museum doing dumb things

I wouldn’t be ranting in an article if a five-year-old said they misplaced something delivered to their care. I could even excuse a five-year-old museum if they lost a painting and were unsure if the painting was stolen or misplaced in a locker room.

But we have a lot to talk about when a museum over a century old declares two of its artworks as untraceable.

Sadly, there is very little to talk about. The museum’s official press release is as vague as vague. In fact, I recommend they print it out on a large cardboard and frame it as an exhibition. Yeah!

They could title it “The Vague Press Release” (2023) by the Kunsthaus Zürich.

Did the cleaners steal the painting?

I first thought that the cleaning agency tasked with refurbishing the paintings didn’t return the two missing artworks.

But that doesn’t make sense. The museum officials would know if they didn’t return them, right? Right?!

Darn it!

Nothing makes sense here.

Please read the news report from Artnet to get a slice of my frustration.

Want to see some fabulous artwork of vagueness?

Read the press release from the museum.

PS: It’s in German, so if you only know English, you will have to use Google Translate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *