The Assemblée Nationale in Paris. Photo: Charles Platiau / Reuters.

Police Launch Investigation After Paintings Go Missing from French Parliament

While the Assemblée Nationale in Paris was doing their yearly inventory at the end of 2017, they discovered that four works of art were missing. The institution is now working with French police to recover the pieces, which are by the French modern painters Hervé Télémaque and Richard Texier, the Greek artist Takis, and an unknown artist.

According to the Canard Enchainé newspaper, the assembly president’s office said the missing items were taken from the lower house of parliament, located on the southern bank of the River Seine, while they were “hanging on office walls.” A spokesperson for the assembly said, “Searches carried out up until now have not led us to finding them.”

In 2016, the Libération newspaper accused state officials of not responsibly watching over France’s national treasures. The report was published after a Louis XVI desk wound up at an antique dealer before it was ever reported missing. That same year, a report commissioned by the state agency charged with keeping track of artworks and furniture in public institutions found that about 22,800 objects had vanished from public facilities across France.

Among the estimated 430,000 heritage pieces displayed in French city halls, embassies, ministries, and other governmental buildings, a nineteenth-century bed went missing from the Château de Versailles and five tapestries disappeared from the French embassy in Guinea’s capital of Conakry.