French police found the work during a raid on an abandoned farmhouse in the Abruzzo region, according to the Agence France-Presse. The district attorney of the Italian city of L’Aquila, Michele Renzo, said in a statement, “The finding was possible following investigations conducted by the district prosecutor in collaboration with the police and the French judiciary.” Further details of the find will be revealed in a press conference on Thursday.
According to reports in 2019, “a group of hooded individuals armed with angle grinders” removed the door during the night in 2019. In a statement posted to Twitter after the theft, the Bataclan said “Banksy’s work, a symbol of recollection and belonging to all: locals, Parisians, citizens of the world, has been taken from us.”
The Bataclan door is far from the first Banksy artwork to be targeted by thieves. In 2019, a mural depicting his eponymous rat was stolen from outside the Centre Pompidou in Paris. It was among a series of artworks installed around the French capital in 2018 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the May 1968 revolt against Charles de Gaulle’s government. Thieves also attempted to steal other murals created in tribute to the uprising.
The artist has unveiled new works throughout 2020, such as the painting donated to a Southampton General Hospital in honor of NHS workers fighting the coronavirus outbreak. Most recently, Banksy has been outspoken in his support of the Black Lives Matter protests that have spread across the globe in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by Minneapolis police brutality. This week he posted on Instagram a painting depicting a vigil to an anonymous black figure. A burning candle in the frame singes the corner of an American flag affixed nearby. In the caption he wrote, “People of color are being failed by the system. The white system. Like a broken pipe flooding the apartment of the people living downstairs.”
After protestors in his hometown of Bristol toppled a monument to English slaver Edward Colston and threw it into the nearby harbor, he took again to Instagram to offer an alternative statue in its stead. “Here’s an idea that caters for both those who miss the Colston statue and those who don’t,” he wrote, “We drag him out the water, put him back on the plinth, tie cable round his neck and commission some life size bronze statues of protestors in the act of pulling him down. Everyone happy. A famous day commemorated.”