Museum Security Network

Thieves take $91 mln masterworks in Swiss art heist

ZURICH (Reuters) – Paintings worth about $91 million were stolen from a Zurich museum in an armed robbery in the second dramatic art theft in the area within days, police said on Monday.

Oil paintings by Cezanne, Degas, van Gogh and Monet were among those stolen in broad daylight on Sunday from the private Buehrle Collection in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city and the country’s financial capital, police said in a statement.

The high profile heist follows the theft of two Picasso paintings — Tete de Cheval, from 1962, and Verre et Pichet, from 1944 — from a nearby cultural centre last week.

Police told Reuters that they had no concrete leads on the Picasso theft and that the investigation was ongoing. Police said it was unclear how many people were involved in the robbery.

Police, who plan a news conference at 7:30 a.m. EST, also declined to say whether they thought the two thefts were connected.

The Sunday theft occurred near the impressionist collection amassed by the late Swiss industrialist Emil Buehrle — one of the most controversial business figures of his time for selling anti-aircraft canon to Nazi Germany during World War Two.

The Buehrle Collection, positioned near Zurich’s wealthy Gold Coast chain of lakeside suburbs, boasts one of the most important assemblies of French impressionism and post-impressionism, according to its Web site (www.buehrle.ch).

The collection includes Pool with Waterlilies, painted around 1910 by master Claude Monet, and an iconic 1887 self portrait by Vincent van Gogh.

Police declined to say which museum was targeted and which paintings had been stolen.

A spokesman for the collection was not immediately available for comment.

Buehrle collected the paintings between 1951 and his death in 1956, according to the Web site.

The stolen Picassos, which are valued in media reports at around $4.5 million, were on loan from the Sprengel Museum in Hannover.

(Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by Thomas Atkins and Charles Dick)
Thieves take $91 mln masterworks in Swiss art heist
Mon Feb 11, 2008 5:43pm IST
By Katie Reid

ZURICH (Reuters) – Paintings worth about $91 million were stolen from a Zurich museum in an armed robbery in the second dramatic art theft in the area within days, police said on Monday.

Oil paintings by Cezanne, Degas, van Gogh and Monet were among those stolen in broad daylight on Sunday from the private Buehrle Collection in Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city and the country’s financial capital, police said in a statement.

The high profile heist follows the theft of two Picasso paintings — Tete de Cheval, from 1962, and Verre et Pichet, from 1944 — from a nearby cultural centre last week.

Police told Reuters that they had no concrete leads on the Picasso theft and that the investigation was ongoing. Police said it was unclear how many people were involved in the robbery.

Police, who plan a news conference at 7:30 a.m. EST, also declined to say whether they thought the two thefts were connected.

The Sunday theft occurred near the impressionist collection amassed by the late Swiss industrialist Emil Buehrle — one of the most controversial business figures of his time for selling anti-aircraft canon to Nazi Germany during World War Two.

The Buehrle Collection, positioned near Zurich’s wealthy Gold Coast chain of lakeside suburbs, boasts one of the most important assemblies of French impressionism and post-impressionism, according to its Web site (www.buehrle.ch).

The collection includes Pool with Waterlilies, painted around 1910 by master Claude Monet, and an iconic 1887 self portrait by Vincent van Gogh.

Police declined to say which museum was targeted and which paintings had been stolen.

A spokesman for the collection was not immediately available for comment.

Buehrle collected the paintings between 1951 and his death in 1956, according to the Web site.

The stolen Picassos, which are valued in media reports at around $4.5 million, were on loan from the Sprengel Museum in Hannover.

(Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by Thomas Atkins and Charles Dick)

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