View of Auvers-sur-Oise

Cezanne, Paul 

1875

Oil on Canvas

81.3 x 65.2 cm

Value: $5 million

Date Of Theft: 23 December1999

Stolen from the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England

THE ARTIST

Paul Cezanne was a French Post-Impressionist painter who paved the way for the transition from Impressionism to Cubism.  His works illustrate a mastery of design, color, tone and composition. His style included a very gentle rendering of objects, which he achieved by using gradations of color rather than light or shadow.  He preferred painting objects in their geometrically simplest form: a tree becomes a cone an apple becomes a sphere.

THE WORK

The View of Auvers-sur-Oise is considered one of Cezanne’s most important paintings because it marks the transition between his early and later periods.  Cezanne’s early works feature a darker color palate and subject matter. Eventually, he started moving towards a more impressionist style, painting airy landscapes.  This painting is in the midst of his change and is a key to the stylistic transformations that took place throughout his career.

THE THEFT

On New Year’s Eve, 1999, a burglar cut a hole in the roof of the Ashmolean museum in Oxford, England and dropped into its art gallery on a rope ladder.  The noise of the break-in was masked by the sounds of the new millennium celebratory fireworks. The painting is valued at over $5 million.