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Paintings recovered from $163 million Switzerland heist
Posted by TK on 2/24/2008 12:46:47 PM (ET)
Filed Under: General
 
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Two Impressionist paintings stolen in one of Europe's largest art thefts have been recovered in an abandoned car found in front of a psychiatric hospital in Zurich.

The paintings by Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet were among four paintings worth $163 million that were stolen from the E.G. Buehrle Collection at a private museum in a Feb. 10 armed robbery. The two other paintings, Edgar Degas’ "Ludovic Lepic and his Daughter" and Paul Cezanne’s "Boy in the Red Waistcoat", remain missing. The Cezanne alone is worth $91 million.

The recovered paintings, Monet's "Poppy field at Vetheuil" and van Gogh's "Blooming Chestnut Branches" were discovered inside a white sedan in the parking lot of the hospital. With a combined value of $64 million, the paintings were in good condition and were still under the glass behind which they were displayed in the museum.

They were identified by relieved museum director Lukas Gloor, who said that they are in impeccable shape after completing a thorough inspection. It is reported that the building supervisor at the hospital found the paintings in an unlocked car. Ironically, the hospital is only a few hundred meters from the museum. Gloor has not commented on the possibility that a ransom was paid for the paintings.

Police and forensic experts continue to investigate and connections with other arts thefts in the country and abroad are being examined. Some experts have suggested organized criminal gangs are behind the heist as the value of works of art at auctions continue to climb.

 
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