Entertainment & Arts

Recovered Cezanne authenticated by Swiss art expert

Serbian policemen guard Cezanne's The Boy in the Red Vest
Image caption Cezanne's The Boy in the Red Vest was heavily guarded during a Belgrade press conference

A painting stolen in a raid on a Swiss museum in 2008 and recovered in Serbia has been confirmed as a Cezanne work.

A Swiss expert said that it is The Boy in the Red Vest, which was taken from Zurich's Emil Buehrle Collection.

Police said that four Serbian men have been arrested in connection with the theft as they were arranging the handover of the painting to a buyer.

The 1888 painting has been valued to be worth approximately $132m (£82.8m).

The robbery at the Zurich museum was one of the biggest art thefts in Europe at the time.

The heist was conducted by three armed, masked men who witnesses said spoke German with a Slavic accent.

The Boy in the Red Vest was stolen with three other masterpieces by Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Edgar Degas.

It was found concealed in a car following the pursuit of a suspect in the Serbian capital Belgrade and was displayed to reporters at a police press conference in the city.

Video footage of the arrest of the four suspects was also shown.

Prosecutor Miljko Radisavljevic said that a two-year probe into the theft had centred on a potential sale to a buyer willing to pay three million Euros (£2.47m) for the artwork.

He added that the four suspects had already received a portion of the money for the painting from the buyer, who authorities believe is Serbian.

Monet's Poppies near Vetheuil and Van Gogh's Blooming Chestnut Branches were discovered undamaged in a car parked outside a psychiatric hospital in Zurich soon after the robbery.

The Degas painting, Ludovic Lepic and his Daughter, was found in 2009, according to Serbian interior minister Ivica Dacic.

Police said the recent arrests in Belgrade and Cacak were conducted in co-ordination with police from several European countries.

Cezanne's Boy in a Red Vest depicts a boy in traditional Italian dress. Three other versions of the painting are in museums in the US.

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