Slavic Epic Stolen
In one of the most bizarre aspects of this scandal, one small picture (seen at right), barely noticeable on the gallery's mammoth walls, was substituted. Art experts believe it to be a piece pilfered from the Hotel Hubertus in Valtice, last seen sometime in October 2005. The significance of the piece - somewhat collage-like in nature though reminiscent of an oil painting, it consists of a boat, sunlight, a palm tree, and a cottage - is unknown.
If the suspicions of Krumlov's mayor are correct, then this may be the latest coup by the Prague-based EnD Group (Engulf and Devour), which for some time has been attempting to move the paintings to Prague permanently. Krumlov police attempted to obtain a search warrant for a large, matchbox-like warehouse in the Stromovka Park, but were unsuccessful after an injunction from the Supreme Court of the Czech Republic blocked their efforts. A Mr. Kecal, spokesperson for the EnD group, denies any involvement.
Geraldine Mucha, the painter's daughter-in-law and a trustee of the Mucha Foundation, remarked: "There are two Krumlovs in this country: one is Český Krumlov and that is a little gem. And, it has had millions of foreign money poured into it and it is a gem. Now, this is Moravský Krumlov. Well, it's a nice village, but that's all it has: the Slav Epic." Now it has nothing. Off the record she indicated that she was inclined to believe the conspiracy theory but also offered the thought that perhaps a Japanese investor had organized the caper, spurred on by a girlfriend who was among the droves of Japanese art history students, all Mucha specialists, who toured Moravský Krumlov every summer. Ms. Mucha also suggested that the Prague group "want[s] to use those canvases as a lure for foreign tourists into a rather dead end of Prague [Stromovka Park]."
More details are reported by Czech Radio.
Tagged: Moravia, Mucha, Czech.