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After the theft dozens of paintings of Albanian impressionist Vangjush Mio from a gallery in the city of Korca, the Minister of Culture has threatensed to shut venues that don’t protect their treasures.
Albania's Minister of Culture, Aldo Bumci, said a bill would be presented in September in parliament to strengthen the oversight of the State Committee of Museums over local galleries.
“There will be penalties and even closures of museum and galleries if they do not meet standards,” Bumci warned.
The threats follow the discovery of the theft of some 60 paintings from the Guri Madhi gallery in Korca. Twenty-seven were works of the renowned impressionist painter Vangjush Mio.
The paintings were found missing after a recent inventory at the gallery. In 1994, 21 of Mio’s paintings were stolen from the same gallery and are still missing
Mio is considered one of the most important Albanian painters of the 20th century and his art has fetched tens of thousands of euro in recent auctions.
The director of the gallery and an employee were arrested on Thursday charged with abuse of power, while the investigation on the theft continues.
There are nearly 50 local museums and galleries in Albania and the status of their collections remain unclear.
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