Edvard Munch’s iconic painting of existential angst, The Scream (1893) (at right, top), and his Madonna (1894-5) (at right, bottom) were recovered today in Norway. The two early Expressionist paintings were stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo just over two years ago in August 2004.
New York Times:
Art lovers and public officials said they were relieved not only by the paintings’ recovery but also by the relative lack of damage. Last year, the tabloid newspaper Dagbladet had quoted underworld sources as saying, “The paintings are burned up.”
Iver Stensrud, the assistant chief of the Oslo police, said on Thursday, “I have seen the pictures myself, and as for damages, they are far from what we really could have feared.”
Erling Lae, the commissioner of Oslo’s city government, was more specific after meeting with administrators of the Munch Museum, where the pictures were stolen in broad daylight on Aug. 22, 2004, as tourists cowered on the floor.
“We know that both pictures have been handled roughly and that ‘Madonna’ has received a scratch or gouge, but I have been informed that the damages are not irreparable,” he said. “The experience of seeing these works of art will be as great as it was before. What an incredible joy and relief.”