Tax lawyer Edgar Paltzer used French master Charles-Francois Daubigny's 1862 work "La gardeuse de chevres" (The goat herder) to pay part of his $2-million bail in New York, where he has been detained since April on tax fraud charges.
"To escape from the claws of American justice and see their families, some Swiss bankers remortgage their homes or seek help from relatives," Swiss newspaper Le Matin reported.
"Zurich lawyer Edgar Paltzer provided a 19th century canvas."
The bail conditions allow the lawyer to leave the United States and return to Switzerland as long as he agrees not to fight any future extradition order.
Daubigny was one of the painters of the Barbizon school, seen as an important precursor to the Impressionist movement.
The painting was estimated to be worth between $450,000 and $500,000 by an independent expert.
Paltzer has admitted to helping clients with Swiss bank accounts avoid tax as a former partner in Swiss law firm Niederer Kraft & Frey, and said he was ready to cooperate with the US authorities to reduce any future sentence.