Thursday, August 31, 2006

Good News : Norwegian Police Find Munch's Stolen 'Scream' and 'Madonna'

Norwegian Police Find Munch's Stolen 'Scream'

Filed at 12:45 p.m. ET

OSLO (Reuters) - ``The Scream'' and another stolen masterpiece by
Norwegian artist Edvard Munch were recovered by police on Thursday,
two years after gunmen seized the paintings from an Oslo museum.

``'The Scream' and 'Madonna' are now in police possession,'' police
chief Iver Stensrud told a news conference. ``The damage is much less
than we could have feared.''

He said the pictures were recovered on Thursday afternoon in ``a
successful police operation'' and said no ransom had been paid.

``The Scream'' is an icon of existential angst showing a terrified
figure against a blood-red sky. ``Madonna'' shows a bare-breasted
woman with long black hair.

Two masked gunmen walked into the Munch Museum in Oslo in August 2004
and yanked the two works from the walls in front of dozens of
terrified tourists. They escaped in a car driven by another man.

The paintings are both from 1893. Three men were convicted in May of
taking part in the theft and were sentenced to up to eight years in

Two of them were ordered to pay $122 million in damages.

The police said an expert at the Munch Museum had examined the
pictures and judged them authentic. A scientific examination will also
be carried out to verify the works.

Munch painted two famous versions of ``The Scream,'' including the one
recovered on Thursday.

The other was stolen in 1994 from Oslo's National Gallery by thieves
who simply broke a window and climbed in with a ladder. It was
recovered after several months by police posing as buyers.

Stensrud declined to answer questions about media reports last week
that a jailed bank robber, David Toska, had promised information about
the paintings if he won a reduced sentence.

``Out of consideration of police working methods, it will be hard to
give details about how the operation was carried out,'' the police
said in a statement.

In the foreground of ``The Scream,'' on a bridge with railings, is a
human figure, hands to its head, eyes staring, mouth agape. Further
back are two men in top hats and a landscape of fjord and hills
against a red sky.

The painting is regarded as an evocative depiction of angst in a world
of man-made horrors such as genocide.



Sanjeev Narang
email: ask {*at*} eConsultant dot com
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