More about Boy in the Red Vest

  • All
  • Info
  • Shop


This work by Paul Cézanne is one of the few paintings that has the distinction of having been stolen twice.  

To start, we have the questionable circumstances under which Boy in the Red Vest ended up at the world famous Bührle Collection in th first place. Emil Georg Bührle was an arms dealer to the wrong side in World War II. He amassed a huge collection of art during the war, when much art was stolen, or "appropriated" from Jewish families. He built one of the most prestigious private art galleries in the world on shaky moral ground.

Then, in 2008, one of the largest art heists in Europe took place at his museum. Three armed men entered the museum at closing time. Within three minutes they made off with four of the most treasured masterpieces in the collection. Boy in the Red Vest, valued at around $91 million, was the most expensive painting stolen. They also got one each by Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, but those two were discovered in the backseat of an abandoned car in the parking lot of a nearby mental institution pretty soon after the crime.

Our lad in red however, and another painting by Edgar Degas, remained missing. Boy in the Red Vest wasn't recovered until 2012. It was in Serbia hanging out with a gang of organized criminals. The Degas, unfortunately, is still MIA. 


Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about The Boy in the Red Vest

The Boy in the Red Vest (Le Garçon au gilet rouge), also known as The Boy in the Red Waistcoat, is a painting (Venturi 681) by Paul Cézanne, painted in 1889 or 1890. It is a fine example of Cézanne's skilled, nuanced, and innovative mature work after 1880.


Cézanne painted four oil portraits of this Italian boy in the red vest (in British English, a waistcoat), all in different poses, which allowed him to study the relationship between the figure and space. The most famous of the four, and the one commonly referred to by this title, is the one which depicts the boy in a melancholic seated pose with his elbow on a table and his head cradled in his hand. It is currently held in Zürich, Switzerland. The other three portraits, of different poses, are in museums in the US.

The Foundation E.G. Bührle, which currently owns the work, notes the painting's picturesqueness, adding that "There is a perfect balance here of high compositional intelligence and spontaneous painterly intuition." In 1895, art critic Gustave Geffroy said it could stand comparison with the finest figure paintings of the Old Masters.

The colors of the painting are rich, dense, and festive. The composition is organized with three main diagonals: the angle of the boy's tilted back and head, the angle of the deep-green curtain behind the boy, and the long angle of the seat and table rising from the lower left. These three angles are countered by the angles of the boy's thighs and arms, creating a tightly articulated structure of intersecting diagonals.

This painting was acquired from Cézanne by art dealer Ambroise Vollard, probably in 1895, and successively acquired by art collectors Marcell Nemes in 1909 and Gottlieb Reber in 1913. Art collector and patron Emil Georg Bührle purchased it from Beber in 1948. Following Bührle's death in 1956, his heirs donated the painting to the Foundation E.G. Bührle in 1960.

In February 2008, the painting was stolen from the Foundation E.G. Bührle in Zurich.
It was the museum's most valuable painting and was valued at $91 million. It was recovered in Serbia in April 2012.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about The Boy in the Red Vest

Comments (1)


Awesome painting. Cezanne was underrated...