A painting by the French artist Paul Cezanne, worth an estimated $100 million, has been found relatively unscathed four years after it was stolen at gunpoint from a Swiss museum by three masked robbers.
The painting, “Boy in a Red Waistcoat,” was one of four stolen from the E. G. Buehrle Collection in Zurich in 2008 by three robbers who burst in just before closing time and told staff to lie on the floor while hand-picked the paintings to steal.
Industrialist Emil Georg Buehrle, whose company manufactured anti-aircraft guns, amassed the collection in the early to mid-20th century.
“Boy in a Red Waistcoat,” painted around 1888, depicts a boy in traditional Italian dress wearing a red waistcoat, a blue handkerchief and a blue belt. Three other versions exist in museums in the United States.
The painting was found hidden in the door panel of a car. Two stolen works, one by Claude Monet, the other by Vincent Van Gogh, were found shortly after the robbery, abandoned in a car. A work by Edgar Degas is still missing.
The director of the collection confirmed the painting’s authenticity, Zurich officials said.
Four men have been arrested in connection with the theft, suggesting the theft may have been the work of an Eastern European gang.
Miljko Radisavljevic, the special prosecutor for organized crime in Belgrade, said the suspects were willing to sell the painting for $4.62 million. “They received 2.8 million euros before the arrest,” he told reporters.
Last October, Serbian police recovered two paintings by Pablo Picasso , “Tete de Cheval” (Horse’s Head) and “Verre et Pichet” (Glass and Pitcher). They were stolen in 2008 from a gallery in Pfaeffikon, a town near Zurich, Reuters reported.