Another Munch Theft

Art thieves must love Edvard Munch.  In yet another theft of his works, Historien, a lithograph by Munch has been stolen.  A man smashed the window of the Nyborg Kunst gallery in Oslo late Thursday and stole the work.  Police are speculating that this may have been a theft by order, as the thief’s vehicle had been reported stolen 10 days earlier, and this unique work will be impossible to sell on the open market.  AFP reminds us of some of the recent Munch thefts:

In 2004, two armed masked men burst into the Munch museum in Oslo in broad daylight and stole the “Scream” and the “Madonna” paintings before making off in a getaway car.
Ten years earlier, another version of the “Scream” was stolen from Oslo’s national gallery on the same day as the opening of the Lillehammer Winter Olympics.

AFP: Munch artwork stolen from Oslo gallery, November 13, 2009.

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Stolen Works Discovered in Glasgow

The BBC reported over the weekend that five paintings have been recovered by a a pensioner in his Dunbartonshire flat (just outside Glasgow). Three are the work of Robert Gemmell Hutchison, the Pink Pinafore, Feeding the Seagulls, and Cottarita. Also recovered was this work, Candlelight by Sir James Guthrie, along with Luss Road. A slideshow of all the works is here.

The works were found by an elderly man in his loft. At present, authorities are still attempting to understand how these works came to arrive there, after they had been stolen in 2002. There still aren’t many details, and I’ll update if and when more details emerge.

The works are estimated to be worth £246,000. Of course that doesn’t measure the artistic or cultural value of the works which have been stolen. In fact cultural value was the main reason the Norweigian Supreme Court gave for increasing the sentences of two thieves who took Edvard Munch’s The Scream and the Madonna as they are of “irreplaceable national cultural value.” It’s this cultural value which gives art theft a prominent place in the news, and arouses such interest. However I think measuring it, especially for courts, can often be difficult, especially for lawmakers who aren’t trained in art history. Increasing punishment for well-renowned masterpieces such as Munch’s works, this cultural value may be pretty easy to measure; however these works recovered in Glasgow may be harder to measure culturally, and our only gauge is the price they may garner at auction.

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