• The SCREAM Report
(From when we knew a lot less about blogging and HTML) The result of extensive online and book paper stuff research.
• Nothing Much to SCREAM About
(The follow up story, please pardon the inconvenience of scrolling down a ways) Before our offices and staff grew to rival those of the Midwest's premiere artblog: Art and Wheat.
Thank you KleeGirl2 for emailing us a link to the NYT story. Reuters reports on the convictions of two men in the infamous Stolen "Scream" Case. It is a hollow victory. Most likely these paintings will never be seen again. Stolen artworks are like kidnapped children. If you don't find them in the first day after the crime took place, chances are you won't. The artworks may even have been destroyed long ago as the perpetrators were trying to avoid incarceration. After all, the Scream and Madonna are unique pieces of evidence. The only hope then is that they turn up in about 50 years in some tiny antique and junk shop in Scotland or Belgium.
The Munch Museum's version of Edvard Munch's The Scream
Here is the Reuters story:
- OSLO (Reuters) - A Norwegian court ordered two men to pay $122 million in damages on Tuesday after convicting them for the 2004 theft of Edvard Munch's masterpieces "The Scream'' and ''Madonna'' and then jailing them for seven and eight years.
The Oslo court also convicted a third man for providing a car for the day-light armed robbery, but did not order him to pay damages. It acquitted three other men.
The two 1893 paintings have not been recovered despite a 2 million Norwegian crowns ($325,900) reward.
Five of the men had been charged with planning or taking part in the daylight robbery, and the sixth had been accused of handling stolen goods.
The six had pleaded not guilty in February.
Two gunmen walked into Oslo's Munch Museum on August 22, 2004, and pulled the two paintings off the walls in front of dozens of stunned tourists who were forced to lie on the ground. A third man drove a get-away car which was later found.
Presiding judge Arne Lyng sentenced Petter Tharaldsen to eight years in prison, Bjoern Hoen to seven years and Petter Rosenvinge to four years for their part in the robbery.
"The verdict is unanimous,'' Lyng told the court as the accused sat stone-faced listening to the judgment.
He said Tharaldsen drove the car, and Rosenvinge sold the car to Hoen who knew what it would be used for. Rosenvinge had also been accused of providing weapons for the robbery, but the court said it could not prove that.
All three said they would lodge appeals.
The court did not identify the two armed men who entered the museum, threatened museum employees with their weapons, yanked the pictures off the walls and walked out to the get-away car.
Lyng ordered Tharaldsen and Hoen to pay the City of Oslo 750 million Norwegian crowns ($122.2 million) in compensation for the paintings within two weeks.
It did not order Rosenvinge to share in the whopping bill for damages because it found that he did not know that ``The Scream'' and ``Madonna'' were the targets of the theft.
The city had sought damages of 500 million crowns for "The Scream'' and 250 million for "Madonna,'' two of Munch's most famous works.
"The Scream,'' showing a waif-like figure clutching its head under a swirling blood-red sky has become an icon of angst in a world scarred by horrors from the atom bomb to the Holocaust. ''Madonna'' shows a bare-breasted woman with long black hair.
In 1994, another version of "The Scream'' -- Munch painted two famous versions of his masterpiece -- was stolen for several months from Norway's National Gallery by thieves who broke a window and climbed in with a ladder. It was recovered by police posing as buyers.
The Munch Museum has since undergone a 40-million crown security upgrade.
This quite probably will go down as the greatest loss of art to theft in history. There is the early Lucien Freud portrait of Francis Bacon, which has never been recovered as well. But just about all the historic cases popping up these days, the long forgotten ones that are now case closed, none involve such immediately recognizable images. And none involve such an audacious daytime raids.