BREAKING NEWS: Munch’s “The Scream”, “Madonna” Stolen At GunPoint
BREAKING NEWS: Munch’s “The Scream”, “Madonna” Stolen At GunPoint From Musuem Sunday Morning
This morning in Oslo, Norway thieves stole Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and “Madonna” at gunpoint. The daring robbery occured during the museum’s business hours in full view of patrons and employees.
Munch painted four versions of “The Scream” in different media. Stolen this morning was the tempera and pastel on board. It and “Madonna” carry a combined value of $74 million USD.
Compiled from various news sources:
Two thieves threatened a female security guard before leaving with [“The Scream”] and another [painting] titled “Madonna.” An accomplice waited outside in a car during the 11:10 a.m. raid, said Jorn Jorgenson, a spokesman for the Oslo police.
“The Scream’ has come more and more to be accepted as Edvard Munch’s most significant motif,” according to the Web site of the Munch Museum, where today’s robbery occurred. The work “depicts the symbol of modern man, for whom god is dead and for whom materialism provides no solace.” (Bloomberg)
“No one has been physically injured, and the suspects escaped in an Audi A6. We are searching for the suspects with all available means,” Walsoe told The Associated Press. “We found the escape car, and we have found many pieces of the frames.” (Associated Press)
Some museum visitors panicked, thinking they were being attacked by terrorists.
“He was wearing a black face mask and something that looked like a gun to force a female security guard down on the floor,” visitor Marketa Cajova told NTB public radio.
Radio producer Castang told France Inter radio: “What’s strange is that in this museum, there weren’t any means of protection for the paintings, no alarm bell.
“The paintings were simply attached by wire to the walls. All you had to do is pull on the painting hard for the cord to break loose -which is what I saw one of the thieves doing.”
Castang said police arrived on the scene 15 minutes later. Visitors were ushered into the museum’s cafeteria. (Canadian Press)
“They knew exactly where the paintings were and took them down from the wall,” Jorunn Christophersen, head of information for the Munch Museum, told CNN.
She disputed a report that the paintings were unguarded, saying an alarm sounded after they pulled the paintings off the wall.
“There is an alarm system and [the paintings] are stuck to the wall with solid screws but they have just used force in taking the Munch [paintings] away,” she said. (CNN)
There are four versions of The Scream. The Munch Museum had two of them, a private collector owns the third and the fourth is on display at Oslo’s National Gallery.
“They were all painted by Munch, and they are all just as valuable,” museum spokeswoman Jorunn Christoffersen said. “Still, these paintings are not possible to sell, and it is impossible to put a price tag on them.” (Canadian Press)
It was the second time in 10 years that “The Scream” has been stolen. Another, and perhaps better-known version, of the painting was taken from Norway’s National Gallery in a break-in in February 1994, on the opening day of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.
A $1 million ransom was refused by the government, but the picture, which is on fragile paper, was retrieved undamaged nearly three months later and remains in that gallery. Three Norwegians were arrested.
The other two versions are in storage at the Munch Museum.
Munch, who lived from 1863 to 1944 and who was a founder of modern expressionism, made several copies of his key works, including “The Scream.” He painted the work in 1893, as part of his “Frieze of Life” series, in which sickness, death, anxiety and love are central themes. (Washington Post)