Stolen Munch paintings found safe
August 31, 2006
Two masterpieces by artist Edvard Munch have been recovered two years after they were stolen from an Oslo museum.
The Scream and Madonna were found in a police operation. “We are 100% certain they are the originals. The damage was much less than feared,” police said. They had been missing since two armed men ripped them from the wall and threatened staff at the Munch Museum in the Norwegian capital in August 2004. Three men were found guilty of charges relating to the theft in May.
“We felt it was a victory today when the pictures turned up,” police chief Iver Stensrud told a press conference in Oslo. “For two years and nine days we have been hunting systematically for these pictures and now we’ve found them.” Mr Stensrud added that police believed the paintings had remained in Norway since they were stolen. “We feel we have been hot on the trail of the paintings the whole time, but it has taken time,” he said.
The Scream, painted in 1893, is one of the world’s most recognisable paintings. The artworks will now be examined by experts to establish what effect their two-year disappearance has had on their condition. Mr Stensrud said no reward had been paid but would not give details of how the paintings were recovered.
Police said no new arrests had been made and the two gunmen remain at large.
In May, Bjoern Hoen, 37, was sentenced to seven years for planning the robbery, Petter Tharaldsen, 37, got eight years for driving the getaway car and Petter Rosenvinge, 34, received four years for supplying the vehicle. Hoen and Tharaldsen were also ordered to pay 750m kroner (£62.3m) compensation to the City of Oslo to reflect the value of its lost paintings. Three other men were acquitted. All had pleaded not guilty. Mr Stensrud said those convicted had not contributed to the recovery of the paintings.
See also: Munch paintings ‘can be repaired’ (BBC NEWS, September 1, 2006)
Munch’s masterpieces back on show (BBC NEWS, September 27, 2006)