A 19th-century portrait painting by François Gérard (1770–1837) has gone missing from a storage space at the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, where it was last seen four years ago, the AFP reports. The artwork, “Portrait of Count Regnault de Saint-Jean d’Angély,” was flagged as missing on February 14, though Versailles officials are hesitant to scream “theft,” and suspect that the piece was more likely misplaced. It was being held in a facility that was only accessible to some 30 people working at the palace.
“Artworks are often being moved,” a spokesperson for Versailles told the AFP. “They can be relocated, marked for restoration, or sent to be re-framed.” According to the spokesperson the work’s value is difficult to estimate, though an outside source placed its value in the region of 100,000 euros (US$137,630). The palace of Versailles houses some 60,000 works of art.
Gérard, who went by “Baron Gérard,” was one of the imperial family’s favored court artists during France’s first empire, and painted one of the most iconic portraits of Napoleon I, which is also housed at Versailles.
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