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More Details on Yesterday’s Armed Heist from the Bührle Collection UPDATED

Have you seen these paintings lately?
“The Boy in the Red Vest,” Cézanne
BurlMon.jpg“Poppies Near Vétheuil,” Monet
“Count Lepic and his Daughters,” Degas
“Blossoming Chestnut Branches,” van Gogh
Swissinfo, a site of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, has the most detailed account I’ve found so far of the deeply disturbing armed theft, during public hours yesterday, of four paintings (above) from the Emil George Bührle Collection, Zurich, a museum that houses important Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works collected by the Zurich industialist. The website for the museum itself, which was functioning earlier this morning, is now down: “You do not have permission to access this document.”
UPDATE: The website is now working, and you can access information about the four works here, here, here and here.
Among the issues raised in the Swissinfo account are the theft-for-hire possibilities (as in the recent theft of two paintings from the Sao Paulo Museum of Art).
Matthew Allen of Swissinfo quotes this from Zurich police spokeman Mario Cortesi:
I think they knew exactly what they wanted to steal because it was over in three minutes. They came in and went directly to the right room and took the four most highly valued pictures….
It is one possibility that they were stolen to order, but what do you want to do with these pictures at home? Everybody now knows these pictures have been stolen.

Also from Swissinfo’s report:
Museum director Lukas Gloor told journalists that he had not ruled out that a ransom demand would be made, but until now no such communication has been received.
But Gloor’s comments, as reported by James Sturcke in the British Guardian, appear to contradict the police assertion that the thieves took the priciest paintings:
He [Gloor] added that they appeared to have taken the first four [paintings] they came to, leaving even more valuable paintings hanging in the same room.
Sturcke also reported that Gloor told the press conference that “the stolen paintings were hung behind glass, and a security alarm went off as soon as they were touched.”
CultureGrrl readers may remember that 85 works from the Bührle Collection were shown in the National Gallery’s controversial 1990 exhibition, The Passionate Eye: Impressionist and Other Master Paintings From the E.G. Bührle Collection.
The Washington museum was taken to task by Michael Kimmelman in the NY Times for glorifying a collector with a questionable past: “Nowhere mentioned in the catalogue is that Bührle-made arms were distributed to the Nazis as well as to the Allies.” It was, he declared, “an exhibition that the National Gallery should never have undertaken. The astonishing thing is that this public institution evinces no embarrassment.”

an ArtsJournal blog