Published: February 12, 2008
Four paintings by Paul Cezanne, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet valued at more than $163 million were stolen from the E.G. Buehrle Collection by three armed men in ski masks Sunday, February 10.
Michael Wirz, a Zurich police department spokesman, offered a prepared release stating that shortly before 4:40 pm three masked men entered the building at the museum’s Zollikerstrasse 172 entrance. One of the men threatened museum personnel at the entrance with a handgun and forced them to the floor. The other two men went into an exhibition hall in the ground floor and stole the four paintings. Subsequently, the robbers fled the building, loaded the stolen paintings into an older model white vehicle and drove down Zollikerstrasse toward Zollikon. At press time, the whereabouts of the thieves and the paintings was unknown.
The robbers were described as being of average height (approximately 5 feet 7 inches), dressed in dark clothing and wearing dark ski masks. One of the men spoke German with a Slavic accent.
The stolen paintings included Monet’s “Poppy field at Vetheuil,” circa 1879; van Gogh’s “Blooming Chestnut Branches,” 1890; Degas’ “Ludovic Lepic and his Daughter,” 1871; and Cezanne’s “Boy in the Red Waistcoat.” circa 1888‹0.
According to the museum’s website, the museum is housed in a villa built in 1886 next to Zurich industrialist Emil Bührle’s (1890‱956) former home. Buhrle’s art collection is regarded to be among the most important Twentieth Century private collections of European art. French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism constitute the core of the collection.
A reward of $90,000 is being offered for information leading to the recovery of the paintings. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Zurich police department at +041 44 411 9111.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm