Showing posts with label Cezanne. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cezanne. Show all posts

September 30, 2016

February 10, 2008 - Museum Theft, Foundation E.G. Bührle, Switzerland


An art heist at gunpoint occurred on February 10, 2008 at the private Zürich gallery run by the Foundation E.G. Bührle in Switzerland. Emil Bührle was a German-born industrialist who sold arms to the Nazis during World War II.  The private museum was established by the Bührle family foundation in order to make the Emil Georg Bührle's collection, of mostly European sculptures and paintings more accessible to the public. The art collection is housed in an elegant Zurich villa adjoining Bührle's former residence.

On the day of the heist, three thieves rushed the gallery shortly before its specified closing time.  Brandishing a handgun, the staff on duty were ordered to lay face-down on the floor, after which the thieves removed four late nineteenth century artworks from the wall.  

The artworks taken were:

Blossoming Chestnut Branches, 1890
by Vincent Van Gogh
Oil on canvas 72.0 x 91.0 cm
Completed in Auvers-sur-Oise



Poppies near Vétheuil, 1879
Signed lower right: Claude Monet
Oil on canvas, 73 x 92 cm
Wildenstein 536


Count Lepic and His Daughters, 1871
by Edgar Degas
oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm
Lemoisne 272


Boy in the Red Waistcoat, 1895
by Paul Cézanne 
oil on canvas: overall: 89.5 x 72.4 cm


On February 18, 2008, eight days after the theft, two of the stolen paintings, Poppies near Vétheuil and Blossoming Chestnut Branches, were found. The artworks were discovered undamaged in the rear seat of the unlocked getaway car  which had been abandoned in the parking area of a nearby Zurich psychiatric hospital a short distance away from the Bührle.

The painting Poppies near Vétheuil by Edgar Degas, regarded as one of the founders of Impressionism, was recovered four years later in April 2012. Information about its initial recovery was withheld from the public to avoid compromising an ongoing investigation with Swiss and Serbian authorities who were still actively working to recover the final painting by Paul Cézanne.

Lukas Gloor, director of the E.G. Buehrle Collection, speaks at a news conference
in front of the recovered paintings 'Blossoming Chestnut Branches,'
by Vincent van Gogh, Credit Christian Hartmann/Reuters
Cezanne's £68.3 million The Boy in the Red Vest was the last painting to be recovered.  It was located on April 12, 2012 inside a hidden roof car panel inside an automobile belonging to a suspect arrested in Belgrade, Serbia. 








May 19, 1998 - Museum Theft, Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome

On May 19, 1998 Rome's prestigious Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna was robbed just after the 10 pm closing time. Armed with guns, three thieves entered the museum just before closing time. Moving about the galleries barefoot and having donned gloves and balaclavas to hide their identities, the thieves then stormed the control room.

There they gagged two of the three female guards and forced a third to disable the museum's security system and hand over its accompanying CCTV footage. They then locked all three security staff in a bathroom before proceeding to the Impressionist hall.  

Once in the painting's gallery, they bypassed paintings by Edgar Degas and Gustav Klimt and stole three specific paintings:

L'Arlésienne, 1889 (one of five versions)
by Vincent Van Gogh  (unsigned)
oil on canvas, 60x50 cm
Completed in  Saint-Rémy


Le Jardinier, October 1889
by Vincent Van Gogh (unsigned)
oil on canvas, 61 x 50 cm
Completed in  Saint-Rémy


and

Cabanon de Jourdan, 1906
by Paul Cézanne
oil on canvas 65 x 81 cm
The last artwork completed by the artist before his death in Aix-en-Provence


From start to finish the art theft lasted only 15 minutes. 

From the beginning of their investigation art crime detectives in Italy suspected that there had to be an insider working with the thieves; someone who had firsthand knowledge of who would be working in the museum that evening and possibly familiarity with the museums security apparatus. 

Law enforcement officers with the Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale and the Squadra Mobile di Roma began their investigation by conducting a prolonged examination of all 160 individuals who worked at the museum.  They needed to narrow down who might be inclined to collaborate with criminals or who might benefit from the proceeds to be made from stolen art. 

Tentative suspects were kept under surveillance and as the squad honed in on each of their culprits, phones were tapped.  Police bided their time for more than a month listening and analysing information as they gathered evidence on who and how many people were involved and most importantly, just where the paintings might have been stashed. 

While they waited, they learned that some of the suspects had met one another serving time in a Brussels prison, one of them for a violent robbery of a postal truck. This further helped to paint a clear picture that the group was not beyond the use of violence.  

Proceeding carefully officers were sure that the theft was not merely an opportunistic crime by an impulsive group but a crime carried out by a individuals who knew one another well and who weren't afraid of getting their hands dirty.

As days passed the thieves faced difficulties finding a buyer.  The criminals began to get irritable and at one point started fighting amongst themselves.  In one instance one of the suspects was so sloppy that he openly complained during a tapped phone conversation that he knew the police were on to them. 

As the band of criminals began to fray law enforcement knew they had to move quickly before they completely unravelled and did something desperate.  The investigators' intel also revealed that the paintings had been split up. Van Gogh's Le Jardinier and Cézanne's Cabanon de Jourdan had been brought back to Rome after the purported sale fell through, while L'Arlésienne was left behind in Turin possibly as collateral for the one criminal not originally from Rome.   

But where? 

After 48 days, investigators decided they had sufficient evidence to identify probable locations for the three paintings and the ability to make simultaneous arrests of all accomplices at the same time.  This was done to ensure that no one got away and that no one could shift the artworks to a new hiding spot or destroy them to avoid prosecution. 

On July 5, 1998 officers moved in and arrested 8 suspects, some with a small arsenal of firearms. The motley team was a hodgepodge of run-of-the-mill criminals including a husband and wife team, one of whom was the insider at the museum.  Others in the band seemed the type only Hollywood characters are made of. 

During a raid of one apartment in the periphery of Rome Van Gogh's Le Jardinier and Cézanne's Cabanon de Jourdan were recovered in good condition One painting had been crudely packaged in a cardboard box and hidden under a bed. The other had been wrapped in a blanket and stuffed in a closet.

L'Arlésienne was recovered in an apartment in Turin along with 6 weapons, including a machine gun. 

The criminals convicted and their sentences imposed

Oeneus Ximenes - considered the mastermind of the theft received a sentence of 8 years imprisonment
Roberto Petruzzi - received a sentence of 8 years imprisonment
Stefania Viglongo - the museum insider received a sentence of 8 years imprisonment
Maurizio Possetto - received a sentence of 7 years imprisonment 
Claudio Trevisan - received 6 years and 4months imprisonment 
Anna Rita Sinti (daughter of Alexander Sinti and the suprisingly young partner of Ximenes) - received 4.5 years imprisonment
Alessandro Sinti - (father of Anna Rita Sinti) - received 3 years and 4 months imprisonment.  
Alfonso Di Febio (husband of Viglongo) - received 2 years and 8 months imprisonment.

By Lynda Albertson 

May 15, 1975 - Museum Theft, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan


On the evening of February 17, 1975, twenty-eight Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of art were stolen from the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Milan.  In total works of art by Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, Auguste Renoir, Amedeo Modigliani, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, the 16th century Flemish master Adrien Van Utrecht, Francoise Millet, Giovanni Fatter, Telemaco Signorini, and Giovanni Segatini were stolen.  The theft occurred despite the presence of watchmen on the premises, who were assigned to regularly patrol the museum and in theory who were required to make ten rounds of the exhibition spaces during each shift.  

To accomplish their crime criminals broke into the museum through an unalarmed first floor window.  They then mounted three flights of stairs and once in the upper Grassi Gallery proceeded to cut the artworks free of their frames, leaving them in a horrifying discarded heap. 

Van Gogh watercolour Breton Women (after Emile Bernard)
also known as Les bretonnes et le pardon de pont Aven
stolen from the Galleria d’Arte Moderna.
Stolen February 17, 1975 Recovered April 6, 1975
Stolen May 15, 1975 Recovered November 3, 1975
While no details of any arrests were announced in connection to the theft it is understood that the thieves may have demanded a hefty ransom and that this demand was most likely met. 

The works of art were conveniently recovered together on April 6, 1975, in an unoccupied sixth‐floor Milan apartment which had been registered to an alias. That apartment was later traced to Giuseppe Pennestri, an individual from Reggio Calabria living in Milan.   At the time the artworks were recovered, and given their good condition the artworks were valued by newspapers at USD $5 million.

While the Galleria d'Arte Moderna got its collection returned, by giving in and paying a thief's ransom, they encouraged further robberies.   Just three months later, on May 15, 1975, thieves struck the museum for a second time.

As if to add insult to injury, the second theft made use of the same security vulnerabilities.  Thieves entered the museum via the exact same avenue taken earlier, as if the first theft was a dress rehearsal for the second grand performance.

To break into the museum they came in over the high wall around the museum and then penetrated the building by climbing a ladder and entering through an upper floor window which had not been fitted with a burglar alarm. 

Once inside they reportedly overpowered four night watchmen.  Two were bound and gagged while making rounds and two were subsequently subdued in the Grassi Gallery where the criminals again made off with a substantial cache of paintings.

This time, even more Impressionist and Postimpressionist works of art were stolen, 38 in total. Many of the artworks stolen, including Van Gogh's watercolour Breton Women (after Emile Bernard), were the same ones taken during the previous robbery.

Perhaps because the thieves were banking on a ransom having already been paid?

One month later, on June 17, 1975, police got a break.  During an routine traffic stop, Giuseppe Pennestri was arrested by Italian authorities while driving a Mercedes with New Zealand license plates under an assumed name.  With him was a Yugoslavian also travelling with false identity papers.

Pennestri would turn out to be a truly unsavoury character, with a record that included not only masterminding the theft of the museum, possibly on both occasions, but also a rap sheet that included homicide, drug dealing, facilitating prostitution and apparent ties to organized crime

Following a joint investigation involving Interpol and the Italian and West German authorities 26 of the 38 artworks stolen were recovered on November 2, 1975. 

Italian law enforcement officials arrested one suspect in Foligno while their counterparts in Germany arrested three individuals in Duisburg, what was then West Germany.  Fifteen of the paintings were found in Italy during a raid on an apartment owned by a wealthy businessman, Settimio Bianchi. Eleven other artworks, including the works by Van Gogh and Renoir, were recovered in West Germany along with nine other stolen artworks from the Galleria d'Arte Moderna.

By Lynda Albertson

February 17, 1975 - Museum Theft, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, Milan


On the evening of February 17, 1975, twenty-eight Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works of art were stolen from the Galleria d'Arte Moderna in Milan.  In total works of art by Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, Auguste Renoir, Amedeo Modigliani, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, the 16th century Flemish master Adrien Van Utrecht, Francoise Millet, Giovanni Fatter, Telemaco Signorini, and Giovanni Segatini were stolen.  The theft occurred despite the presence of watchmen on the premises, who were assigned to regularly patrol the museum and in theory who were required to make ten rounds of the exhibition spaces during each shift.  

To accomplish their crime criminals broke into the museum through an unalarmed first floor window.  They then mounted three flights of stairs and once in the upper Grassi Gallery proceeded to cut the artworks free of their frames, leaving them in a horrifying discarded heap. 

Van Gogh watercolour Breton Women (after Emile Bernard)
also known as Les bretonnes et le pardon de pont Aven
stolen from the Galleria d’Arte Moderna.
Stolen February 17, 1975 Recovered April 6, 1975
Stolen May 15, 1975 Recovered November 3, 1975
While no details of any arrests were announced in connection to the theft it is understood that the thieves may have demanded a hefty ransom and that this demand was most likely met. 

The works of art were conveniently recovered together on April 6, 1975, in an unoccupied sixth‐floor Milan apartment which had been registered to an alias. That apartment was later traced to Giuseppe Pennestri, an individual from Reggio Calabria living in Milan.   At the time the artworks were recovered, and given their good condition the artworks were valued by newspapers at USD $5 million.

While the Galleria d'Arte Moderna got its collection returned, by giving in and paying a thief's ransom, they encouraged further robberies.   Just three months later, on May 15, 1975, thieves struck the museum for a second time.

As if to add insult to injury, the second theft made use of the same security vulnerabilities.  Thieves entered the museum via the exact same avenue taken earlier, as if the first theft was a dress rehearsal for the second grand performance.

To break into the museum they came in over the high wall around the museum and then penetrated the building by climbing a ladder and entering through an upper floor window which had not been fitted with a burglar alarm. 

Once inside they reportedly overpowered four night watchmen.  Two were bound and gagged while making rounds and two were subsequently subdued in the Grassi Gallery where the criminals again made off with a substantial cache of paintings.

This time, even more Impressionist and Postimpressionist works of art were stolen, 38 in total. Many of the artworks stolen, including Van Gogh's watercolour Breton Women (after Emile Bernard), were the same ones taken during the previous robbery.

Perhaps because the thieves were banking on a ransom having already been paid?

One month later, on June 17, 1975, police got a break.  During an routine traffic stop, Giuseppe Pennestri was arrested by Italian authorities while driving a Mercedes with New Zealand license plates under an assumed name.  With him was a Yugoslavian also travelling with false identity papers.

Pennestri would turn out to be a truly unsavoury character, with a record that included not only masterminding the theft of the museum, possibly on both occasions, but also a rap sheet that included homicide, drug dealing, facilitating prostitution and apparent ties to organized crime

Following a joint investigation involving Interpol and the Italian and West German authorities 26 of the 38 artworks stolen were recovered on November 2, 1975. 

Italian law enforcement officials arrested one suspect in Foligno while their counterparts in Germany arrested three individuals in Duisburg, what was then West Germany.  Fifteen of the paintings were found in Italy during a raid on an apartment owned by a wealthy businessman, Settimio Bianchi. Eleven other artworks, including the works by Van Gogh and Renoir, were recovered in West Germany along with nine other stolen artworks from the Galleria d'Arte Moderna.

By Lynda Albertson

April 27, 2012

Interpol's Stolen Art Database Reports Eight Cézanne Paintings Missing

by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog

Interpol is the international police organization established in 1923.  In 2009, its database for Stolen Art was made available to the public.  It takes about one to two weeks to obtain permission and a password to access the lists of recovered and stolen art objects.

Earlier this month, police in Serbia recovered a painting by Paul Cézanne that had been stolen from an Impressionist museum in Zurich in 2008.  Interpol lists eight stolen artworks created by Cézanne.


Auvers sur Oise
Period: 1889-18892
Measurements: 46 cm x 55 cm
Stolen from Oxford, United Kingdom, on January 1, 2000.


La Montagne Sante Victoire
Period: Circa 1865
Measurements; 33 cm x 49 cm.
Stolen from Le Pecq, France, on March 27, 2008.



Peches sur un plat
Period: 1872-1877
Measurements: 23 cm x 30.50 cm
Stolen from Argentina, Buenos Aires, on December 26, 1980.

Still Life
Measurements: 49 cm x 64.20 cm
Stolen from Oberageri, Switzerland, on April 25, 1996.



Paysage au Lac
Period: 1896








Sentier parmi les roches
Period: between 1899 and 1902






Vue dans un jardin (watercolour)
Stolen from France on December 8, 2003.








Human Face

Stolen from France on December 8, 2003.  This watercolour is painted on the reverse side of another painting, Vue dans un jardin.

April 19, 2012

Last week's ABC News Video of "Stolen Cézanne Recovered by Serbian Police"

Recovered Cézanne painting
Last week ABC News broadcast the video footage of the Serbian police recovering a Cézanne painting hidden in the roof upholstery of a vehicle.

Cézanne's painting, Boy with a Red Waistcoat, had been stolen from the Foundation E. G. Bürhle in Zurich, Switzerland, in 2008.

Other information about this recovery may be found here and here.

April 14, 2012

Associated Press: Serbian officials announce recovery of Degas painting stolen from Bührle Collection in 2008; Ransom paid one year after theft

Degas' Ludovic Lepic and His Daughters/Bürle
by Catherine Sezgin, Editor-in-Chief

Serbian officials announced this week that payment of a 400,000 euro ransom returned Edgar Degas' painting Ludovic Lepic and His Daughters to the Bührle Collection one year after it was stolen, according to "SEE IT: Serbian and Swiss police raid nets stolen Cézanne painting", an article written by Dusan Stojanovic, Chief Correspondent for the Associated Press in Belgrade, and published April 13 on the website NYDailyNews.com.

This information was released at a news conference in Belgrade attended by Serbia's organized crime prosecutor Miljko Radisavljevic and Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, Stojanovic reported.

The FBI and Interpol had still listed the Degas painting as stolen and missing as of this week.

Other interesting details Stojanovic reported from the press conference:

The police raid recovered the Cézanne painting in the roof upholstery of a black van;

Four men, including the leader of the gang that conducted the robbery, were arrested in Belgrade and Cacak, according to Prosecutor Radisavljevic;

The police raids this week, planned since 2010, "took place when the suspected robbers decided to take the Cézanne painting to a wealthy Serb who agreed to buy it for (euro) 3.5 million ($4.6 million), according to Interior Minister Dacic.

Police also found $2 million in cash and firearms with the four men, according to Dacic.

Thank you to Marc Balcells, ARCA alum, who noticed the news on recovery of the Degas painting.

April 12, 2012

Serbian Police Recover Cézanne's The Boy in the Red Waistcoast Stolen in 2008 from the E. G. Bührle Collection in Switzerland

Cézanne's "The Boy in
 the Red Waistcoast"/
Foundation E. G.
 Bührle Collection
by Catherine Sezgin, ARCA Blog Editor-in-Chief
BBC News reported today that Serbian police recovered "Boy with a Red Waistcoat", a painting by Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) stolen in 2008 from the Foundation E. G. Bührle Collection in Zurich.

According to the BBC, police arrested three people in Belgrade and Cacak.

The blog, Eastern European Forum, has a simple English translation of the information in Sebia's daily Blic: "The operation was organized by the Service for the Fight Against Organized Crime (SBPOK) and the Organized Crime Prosecution.  The Serbian police cooperated with their colleagues from several states and the operation was prepared for several months."

Cézanne's Le Garçon au gilet rouge measures 79.5 by 64 centimeters.  Emil Bührle, a German-born industrialist who sold arms to the Nazis during World War II, purchased the oil on canvas for 400,000 Swiss Francs in 1948. It is now estimated to be worth more than $100 million.

On Sunday, February 10, 2008, "three armed men in ski masks" ("Armed robbers steal $160 million worth of art from Zurich Museum", The New York Times, February 11, 2008) entered the Zurich museum 30 minutes before closing to steal four paintings by Cézanne, Degas, Van Gogh, and Monet.

One week later, two of the paintings, Vincent van Gogh's Blossoming Chestnut Branches (1890) and Claude Monet's Poppies Near Vétheuil (1879) were "discovered in the back seat of a white sedan parked outside a psychiatric hospital" "about 500 meters from the gallery" (BBC News Online, "Stolen Paintings Found in Zurich").

Edgar Degas' Ludvovic Lepic and His Daughters (1871, oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm) is still missing.

If you would like to read more about recovering stolen art in Serbia ....

In October 2011, former Scotland Yard Detective Richard Ellis recovered two Picasso paintings in Serbia that had been stolen from Switzerland in 2008.

Sandy Nairne, author of Art Theft and the Case of the Stolen Turners, discusses the Serbian underworld with The Independent's Mathew Bell in July 2011. More information about Nairne's book can be found on the ARCA blog here and here.

UPDATE: The report by Reuters here.

The story appears to have originated with journalist Tamara Markovic Subota of Serbia's Blic, a daily newspaper.  According to the translation by Google here, the three arrested were Serbian nationals and part of organized crime -- a fourth accomplice was arrested for trafficking in firearms.

Provenance of Cézanne's Boy with a Red Waistcoat/Le Garçon au gilet rouge (Buehrle website):


Provenance
Ambroise Vollard, Paris (ca. 1895–1909) (1) ▪ Marczell de Nemes, Budapest (1909–1913) (2) ▪
Gottlieb Friedrich Reber, Langerfeld/Wuppertal, Munich, Lugano, Ascona & Lausanne (1913–1948) 
(3) ▪ Emil Bührle, Zurich (28 August 1948 until [d.] 28 November 1956) (4) ▪ Given by the heirs of 
Emil Bührle to the Foundation E.G. Bührle Collection, Zurich, no. 18 (1960).
(1) Acquired from the artist, most probably in connection with the exhibition of 1895 in the dealer's gallery, Cézanne to Picasso, Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde, (exh. cat.) Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York etc. 2006–07, pp. 47 (n. 88), 284.

(2) Acquired from the above on 30 July 1909 for FF 20.000, exh. cat. as above; Catalogue des tableaux 

modernes […] composant la collection de M. Marczell de Nemes de Budapest, (sale cat.) Galerie ManziJoyant, Paris (18 June 1913), no. 90.

(3) Acquired at the above sale for FF 56.000, R. K., "Die Auktion der Sammlung M. von Nemes", in Cicerone (5) 

1913, pp. 516, 518; Peter Kropmanns, Uwe Fleckner, "Von kontinentaler Bedeutung, Gottlieb Friedrich Reber 

und seine Sammlung", in Die Moderne und ihre Sammler, Französische Kunst in deutschem Privatbesitz vom 

Kaiserreich zur Weimarer Republik, Berlin 2001, p. 352.

(4) Acquired from the above for CHF 400.000, AStEGB, Entry Book I, 14 July 1948: "Reber, Dr. G. F., Lausanne, 

Oelgem. a. Lw., Original (verpfändet), Cézanne, Paul, Le Garçon au gilet rouge, 79,5 x 64 cm, Hoch"; the 

acquisition price mentioned in AStEGB, Letter from Emil Bührle to Alois Miedl, Zurich, 27 August 1948, 
offering a painting by Cézanne, Portrait of Choquet [R.460] as a commission to Miedl.


ARCA footnote: Alois Miedl purchased part of the assets of Jacques Goudstikker after the Jewish art dealer fled Amsterdam in 1940 (you can read more in Spiegel Online "Nazi-Era Profiteering: Holland Returns Art Stolen from Jewish Collector" and here and here on the ARCA blog.