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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Two of the Four Stolen Masterpieces Are Recovered

From washingtonpost.com: Two masterworks that were stolen from a Zurich art museum last week were found in good condition Monday in an unlocked car parked outside a nearby psychiatric hospital, Swiss police said Tuesday. Two other paintings are still missing, they said.

The recovered paintings -- Claude Monet's "Poppies near Vetheuil" (1879) and Vincent van Gogh's "Chestnut in Bloom" (1890) -- were found by a 56-year-old parking lot attendant who contacted police about 4 p.m. Monday. The attendant reported that there was a "suspicious white vehicle with two pictures on the back seat" at the University of Zurich Psychiatric Hospital, police said in a statement.

The two paintings, which Swiss police said have a combined value of about $63 million, were among four stolen on Feb. 10 by three masked men in a brazen daylight robbery at a private villa that houses the E.G. Buehrle Collection, a trove of French Impressionist and post-Impressionist masterpieces.

As a man with a pistol guarded the door and kept fearful employees lying in the ground, the other two grabbed four paintings worth $163 million from a nearby exhibit hall. The three then hauled the paintings to a white car parked outside and sped away.

It was Switzerland's largest-ever art heist. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]

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