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Police recover stolen Munch masterpieces

Norwegian officials find 'The Scream,' 'Madonna' two years after theft

Updated: 12:15 a.m. ET Aug 31, 2006

 

OSLO, Norway - Police recovered two paintings they believe are the Edvard Munch masterpieces "The Scream" and "Madonna," two years after masked gunmen seized the priceless artworks from an Oslo museum in a bold, daylight raid, authorities announced Thursday.

 

Both paintings, stolen from the Munch Museum in August 2004, were in better-than-expected condition, police said at a news conference.

 

"The pictures came into our hands this afternoon after a successful police action," said Iver Stensrud, head of the police investigation. "All that remains is an expert examination to confirm with 100 percent certainty, that these are the original paintings. We believe these are the originals," Stensrud said.

"I saw the paintings myself today, and there was far from the damage that could have been feared," he said.

 

They were recovered following the conviction of three suspects in the case in May, an international police hunt and the offer of a nearly $300,000 reward by the City of Oslo, which owns the artworks.

 

During the hunt for the paintings, Norwegian news media reported that they might have been burned to get rid of evidence.

 

Stensrud said it was not possible for the news media, or the public, to see the paintings yet. He also refused to discuss the methods or details of the search that led to the stolen artworks.

 

Munch's emotionally charged painting style became a major influence in the birth of the 20th-century expressionist movement.

 

The two paintings recovered Thursday were part of his "Frieze of Life" series, focusing on sickness, death, anxiety and love. "The Scream," which shows a waif-like figure apparently screaming or hearing a scream, has become a modern icon of human anxiety. There are three other versions of the painting.

 

Munch died in 1944 at the age of 80.

 

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Perfect choice for marketing Dali exhibit

Posted on Mon, Jan. 03, 2005

The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. is spending $2.6 million on a new pitchman to attract New Yorkers and others to Philadelphia: Salvador Dali.

The Spanish-born artist with his trademark handlebar mustache will adorn huge banners atMadison Square Garden in New York City and at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station to promote the forthcoming Feb. 16 through May 15 exhibit of the artist's work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Those banners are scheduled to be installed here tonight.

The Dali ad campaign will include TV, radio and print magazine with a focus on attracting New York, Boston and Harrisburg art lovers to Philadelphia for the exhibit. It will feature more than 200 works, many shown in the United States for the first time. - Josh Goldstein

 

PRAGUE, Czech Republic (AP) - More than twenty paintings by European masters should be returned to the heirs of a Czech Jew whose collection was stolen by Nazis, a judge said Thursday.

 

Precious looted paintings to be returned

 

December 23, 2004

Lenka Novakova, a judge in the town of Pribram, 100 kilometres east of Prague, said she ruled on Wednesday in favour of Andrew Federer, the grandson of the original owner Oskar Federer, in his dispute with the Czech Republic over the paintings.

She said paintings by Czech and European masters displayed in the galleries in Pribram and the town of Ostrava, 350 kilometres east of Prague, were the subject of the trial.

Novakova refused to provide further details.

Petr Beranek, the director of the Gallery of Fine Art in Ostrava, said that twenty paintings by authors such as Edvard Munch, Oskar Kokoschka or Czech painter Antonin Slavicek displayed in his gallery could be affected by the ruling.

"We'll most probably appeal the verdict when we receive it," Beranek said Thursday, adding he has serious doubts the works really belonged to Federer.

"The Vitkovice company of which he was a director was very rich and generous in providing funds for more than a standard representation," Beranek said. "The paintings could have been owned by the company."

Oskar Federer, director general of the Vitkovice iron and mining company, managed to leave the Nazi-held Czechoslovakia in 1939 when his wife and children already were safely in Canada.

However, he could smuggle out only four of his favourite paintings, leaving behind a precious collection of works by European masters.

His grandson Andrew, a Toronto-based banker who works for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, failed to regain the paintings that remained in the Czech Republic in the 1990s because legislation at that time allowed only restitution of property confiscated after the 1948 Communist takeover. A new law, passed in 2000, allows for art stolen by the Nazis to be claimed by the original owners or their heirs.

 

 

ST. PETERSBURG REFERENDUMS

The waterfront's makeover: The hottest of the five referendum questions is whether the Dali museum will move to the land now occupied by the Times Arena at the Bayfront Center.

By CARRIE JOHNSON, Times Staff Writer

Published October 26, 2004

 

Voters are being asked to decide the future of the city's waterfront, including a proposed move for the Salvador Dali Museum that would give the University of South Florida St. Petersburg room to expand.

 

The City Council has approved five referendum questions that will appear on Tuesday's ballot.

 

Two of the questions are about the Dali's move, which several council members have called the most significant change to the city's waterfront in 30 years.

 

Two more questions will allow 25-year leases at the Port and Albert Whitted Airport, which advocates say would allow those facilities to attract private businesses, such as restaurants. The city charter requires voters to approve any leases on the waterfront longer than 10 years.

 

The final question would allow the Harborage Marina to expand the amount of underwater land it leases from the city in Bayboro Harbor. Marina officials say they need the extra room for docks.

 

But it is the potential move of the Dali Museum that is attracting most of the attention this election season.

 

The proposal would allow the Dali to build a new museum on the spot now occupied by the Times Arena at the Bayfront Center, which is slated for demolition.

 

The museum's current building would then be transferred to USF St. Petersburg, which could use the location to expand its campus.

 

The deal still hinges on acquiring millions of dollars in state and private money to pay for the move and a new three-story museum. But approval of the ballot questions would be an important first step, museum officials said.

 

The first question asks voters to sign off on the Dali's move to Bayfront. Voting yes would allow the Dali to move into the space where the Times Arena now sits. The museum would then build a 50,000-square-foot museum south of the Mahaffey Theater. The museum and the theater would be connected by a pedestrian plaza overlooking Tampa Bay.

 

The three-story facility would be 20,000 square feet larger than the current museum and would include space for classrooms and a research library.

 

The second question asks voters to approve transferring the Dali's current waterfront property to USF St. Petersburg. If it passes, USF would get much-needed space for expansion, with possibly a new student center within the renovated museum building, and a new graduate arts program housed inside the new Dali building.

 

A third question on the ballot is supported by Albert Whitted Airport advocates, who have fought for years for longer leases at the struggling facility. They say extending leases from 10 years to 25 would help attract private businesses to the site.

 

The fourth question would allow facilities at the port to grant 25-year leases, too. City officials say this is important in light of the new casino cruise ship scheduled to start operations out of the port.

 

The fifth and final question would give the Harborage Marina permission to grow by giving it more submerged land to expand its docks. Voting yes would also allow the city to enter into a new 30-year lease with the marina.

REINVENTING THE DALI

THE SPACE: The proposal calls for a three-story, 50,000-square-foot museum on the Times Arena at Bayfront Center site.

WHAT MUST HAPPEN: The City Council must approve two referendum questions for the Nov. 9 ballot.

DALI IN ST. PETERSBURG: Valued at more than $500-million, the art collection draws 200,000 visitors annually.

 

Painting of Nude Bush Removed From Museum

Fri Oct 8, 7:46 PM ET

By CARL HARTMAN, Associated Press Writer

 

WASHINGTON - A cartoonish painting of President Bush (news - web sites) in the nude has been taken down from the wall at the City Museum of Washington. The picture, called "Man of Leisure, King George," adopts the pose of a famous Impressionist painting, Edouard Manet's "Olympia," that scandalized Paris in 1863, and now hangs in the Gare d'Orsay Museum in Paris.

AP Photo

"Cheney, I wanted the crown with the pill bottles on top."

The painting by local artist Kayti Didriksen, shows a caricature of Bush, reclining in the nude on a chaise lounge, his head propped up by pillows.

Instead of the female servant who stands behind Olympia's couch, a man in suit and tie resembling Vice President Dick Cheney (news- web sites) stands nearby, holding a cushion with a crown and a miniature oil rig on top of it.

The painting was part of a "living room art" show called "Funky Furniture" &emdash; a variety of painted furniture and other items that were set up in the museum last week.

Expected to formally open this month, the show, including the Bush painting, was abruptly shut down Monday after some of the artists' themes were considered unsuitable.

Myra Peabody Gossens, a public relations consultant for the museum, said the exhibit was not what had been expected.

"The museum is not an art museum," she explained. "It gets mostly groups of children, with teachers trying to tell them something about history."

In addition to the Bush painting, the exhibit included a decorated church pew with pictures and writing that accused former President Reagan of ignoring the AIDS (news - web sites) crisis and an end table decorated with drug paraphernalia with a quote from former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry, who was jailed for drug possession.

"This is not what we were bargaining for. We thought we were getting functional furniture," Leslie Shapiro, co-chairman of the museum's board of directors, told the Washington Post.

The City Museum of Washington, operated by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., is primarily a place where local and regional history is on display. The museum's executive board decided the museum was "not an appropriate venue" for the exhibit.

Art-O-Matic 2004, a confederation of local artists which organized the project, now is looking for another space to house the exhibit, said Jim Tretick, a member of the group's board of directors.

"About a dozen people may have seen it on Sunday," said Tretick. "The exhibit wasn't completely mounted. Then it was taken down on Monday when the museum was closed."  

 

Pieces of Dali

By KURT LOFT kloft@tampatrib.com

Published: Oct 10, 2004

ST. PETERSBURG - Salvador Dali came into this world 100 years ago and made sure his mark would be permanent.

He secured his fame and fortune with the brush, leaving before his death in 1989 an intentionally irrational legacy of art that helped define the surreal. But the multitalented Spanish painter and provocateur grew beyond the canvas, reinventing his art - and himself - with the deft hand of a magician.

In honor of the centennial of the artist's birth, the Salvador Dali Museum presents ``Dali & Mass Culture,'' a collection of 270 works in photography, film, painting, drawing, fashion, writing and advertising. Most objects are shown here for the first time, and as a whole, help define both the art and artist, says William Jeffett, the museum's curator of special exhibitions.

``It's difficult to separate the man from his art,'' he says. ``But this celebration of Dali's 100th birthday is a moment when we can separate the two and evaluate the art apart from the man. Dali put himself in his art in so many ways, and there's this public personality in his art.''

The collection explores the emergence of two cultures Dali tried to address: art for the elite minority and the less-educated majority. With the majority, art was often produced industrially and made accessible to most everyone. Here, Dali found inspiration in popular culture, evident in his views on advertising, political propaganda and even set design for Hollywood films.

A crucial point that runs through the show is the difference, in Dali's mind, between what is art and what isn't. As popular culture in the early 20th century became more engrained in the media, Dali became more a part of it.

``I do think he anticipated, and understood, that dynamic early on,'' Jeffett says. ``The exhibition's premise refers to his interest in culture in the broadest sense of the word, beyond painting. He was interested in media that reached a mass audience, and that included magazines, newspapers, film and photography.''

Photography makes up a large portion of the show. Dali, who was born May 11, 1904, appreciated the power of the camera and spent part of his career learning technique and compositional theory from professional photographers.

``Dali explored the charismatic possibilities of photography and film,'' Jeffett says. ``He knew it had a different dynamic than painting because it was so instantaneous; it plugged into the unconscious because it bypassed the hand of the artist.''

The exhibition is organized into eight sections, each describing a stage of Dali's work:

* Modern Art: Art and Anti- Art - Explains the key themes in Dali's career as an artist and his relationship with contemporary culture, cubism and surrealism.

* The Angelus: The Tragic Myth - Shows the links between Dali's creations and Jean-Francois Millet's ``The Angelus,'' which embraces pop culture of the time.

* Hollywood: A Place of Pilgrimage - Looks at the artist's interest in cinema, from early avant-garde films to Hitchcock and Disney productions.

* Dream of Venus - Includes 30 pieces originally designed by Dali for the 1939 New York World's Fair.

* Fiat Modes, Pereat Ars - Explains Dali's approach to art in the fashion world through artist Max Ernst's premise, ``Let fashion be made and art perish.''

* Photography - Illustrates Dali's collaboration with photographer Philippe Halsman, which produced a series of images for the photograph ``Dali and the Skull.''

* Dali News - Looks at the artist's relationship with the media and includes designs for magazine covers and newspaper cartoons.

* Epilogue - Offers two screen tests of Dali filmed by Andy Warhol during the mid- 1960s.

ON VIEW

Dali & Mass Culture

WHAT: New exhibition of works and projects by Salvador Dali

WHEN: Through Jan. 30

WHERE: Salvador Dali Museum, 1000 Third St. S., St. Petersburg

HOURS: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, until 8 p.m. Thursday, noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday

ADMISSION: $14; (727) 823-3767

Reporter Kurt Loft can be reached at (813) 259-7570.

 

August 25, 2004

Stolen art joins long, illustrious list

A version of Edvard Munch's famous painting, "The Scream," was stolen Sunday from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, by armed robbers as museum visitors and staff members watched. The frames that contained it and another Munch painting stolen at the same time, "Madonna," were found on a roadside. Monday, the director of the Munch Museum, Gunnar Soerensen, appealed to the robbers to "please take care of the paintings, no matter what else you do with them." Art experts say the paintings are far too well-known to be sold on the legitimate art market. -- Sidsel DeJong / AFP/Getty Images 1999 file photo.

Scream painting has been stolen!!!

 

By Deborah Ball

The Wall Street Journal

Edvard Munch's iconic work, "The Scream," now joins a cache of paintings by Johannes Vermeer, Leonardo da Vinci and J.M.W. Turner stolen in recent years.

 

The theft on Sunday from an Oslo museum of that and one other Munch painting adds to the estimated $5 billion worth of art that has been taken over the past century.

 

Most often, high-profile works of art are never recovered, insurance experts say. According to the Art Loss Register, which tracks stolen art worldwide, among the missing are 467 works by Pablo Picasso and 289 by Marc Chagall.

 

None of the $300 million worth of art stolen from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 1990, including Vermeer's "The Concert," has ever resurfaced.

 

Famous stolen works become difficult to resell due to their notoriety and widespread media coverage of the crimes. "The Scream," which adorns mugs, posters and mouse pads around the world, couldn't be sold to a reputable buyer.

 

"Nobody in his right mind would touch it," says Richard Feigen, a New York-based art dealer.

 

As a way to block thieves from passing stolen works on to reputable dealers, several auction houses and art trade associations in 1991 set up the Art Loss Register. Dealers and museums now check the database's 145,000 items before handling an artwork.

 

While there isn't a worldwide tally of stolen art, the register says it adds about 10,000 items a year. Of art thefts, 54 percent are from private homes, compared with 12 percent from museums. Most museum thefts occur outside the United States.

 

Thieves typically steal a painting to demand a ransom or reward for returning the item, dealers and insurance experts say. Stolen artwork also often serves as a trophy or a pawn to trade with other criminals, investigators say.

 

"Art can be used as currency for any criminal activity: drugs, counterfeiting, arms, explosives or fake documents," says Tony Russell, a former Scotland Yard investigator who helped recover another version of "The Scream," which was stolen in 1994 and was missing for three months. Russell took part in a sting operation to recover the painting.

 

Among other museum curators and art dealers Monday, the theft of "The Scream," which is valued at $50 million, called attention to security at Europe's state-supported museums, which have seen the majority of robberies.

 

Security is more lax in Europe than in the United States in part because budgets are generally are smaller than at American museums. Also, it can be tougher to install high-tech security and alarm systems in aging buildings that often are protected by conservation laws.

 

Steps such as attaching tracking devices, for instance, are considered prohibitively expensive.

 

Some museums resort to rudimentary steps like displaying their high-value works away from exits, and such steps can help, insurance executives say. Many museums tightened security after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

 

Despite lax security, most works of art in Europe aren't insured against theft, including "The Scream." Europe's enormous number of museums and works of art -- Italy alone is estimated to have millions of valuables housed everywhere from the Vatican Museum to village churches -- make such insurance prohibitively expensive.

 

When thieves can't resell their stolen artwork, some just abandon the goods. Last year, a clutch of works by Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso and Paul Gauguin was found rolled up in a cardboard tube behind a toilet just 200 yards from the U.K. gallery from which they were stolen, accompanied by a note from the thieves congratulating the venue for its poor security.

 

In Norway, the frames that held "The Scream" and the other Munch painting stolen Sunday, "Madonna," were discovered on a roadside, but the works remain missing.

 

Armed guards watch Dali art

Published August 24, 2004

A St. Petersburg museum reacts to an art theft in Norway. Other bay area museums say their security is adequate.

 

By LENNIE BENNETT, Times Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG - The Salvador Dali Museum is making a bold response to the Sunday theft of Edvard Munch's The Scream from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway:

 

"We've hired armed, off-duty law enforcement officers," said Hank Hine, director of the Dali, which draws about 200,000 visitors annually to its waterfront location in downtown St. Petersburg. "Your headline should read: "Thieves Beware.' "

 

It's an unorthodox move in the world of fine arts museums, where unarmed guards are the norm.

 

"It's not a usual practice," said Ed Able, president of the American Association of Museums.

 

"In my experience, I've not seen that," said Tess Koncick, associate director for Collection Services at the John and Mable Ringling Museum in Sarasota, which has one of the finest collections of Baroque art in the United States. "It would probably cause concern among the public," she said.

 

"Anecdotally, I can't think of any museums (that arm their guards)," said John Schloder, director of the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, home to one of the few comprehensive art collections in the southeastern United States. "You have to make your own call on what you think is best for you. But (with firearms), there's always the problem of human error."

 

Museums have always wrestled with the challenge of securing the facility against thieves and vandals while making it a welcoming place for the public. That duality became clear Sunday when robbers held an unarmed guard at bay as they took The Scream and another Munch painting from gallery walls.

 

"You basically have two responsibilities with security," said Able, "to protect the collections and, more important, to protect the safety and well-being of our visitors. We struggle with the issue of access versus security all the time. The safest place for art to be is locked in a vault, but why have objects if no one can use them as learning tools?"

 

Able said American museums have been aggressive in installing sophisticated electronic security systems that back up personnel.

 

The Museum of Fine Arts and the Ringling do not plan to alter their procedures as a result of theOslo theft. Both recently reviewed their security measures, which are also reviewed by the American Association of Museums as part of its accreditation process.

 

"We believe we have the highest standard of security," said Koncick. "Everyone here understands that security is everybody's job. We do not believe this warrants a special review."

 

"We have heightened awareness," said Schloder. "But we just reviewed all our security procedures and think they're excellent."

 

Nor will the Tampa Museum of Art, which does not employ armed guards, be changing its practices, said museum director Emily Kass. When there's a major art theft in the news, "you immediately review your policies and procedures, the way a hurricane makes you review your hurricane procedures," she said. "Everyone has their own procedures in place tailored to what is unique about their collections."

 

But Hine says art world tradition is no reason not to take extraordinary measures. "The things we treasure the most we give greatest access to," he said. "Look at our schools. We've had a lot of reminders about vulnerability."

 

What Hine and his colleagues do agree on is that art thieves, if profit is their motive, will almost certainly come up empty-handed.

 

Stolen art "is impossible to dispose of," said Schloder.

 

It's all so well documented, said Koncick, "it's rare that anyone could sell for profit."

 

"None of the fine arts insurers would pay a ransom, either," said Able.

 

Organizations such as the Art Loss Register maintain a database of stolen artwork to alert museums, dealers and collectors internationally when stolen art comes on the market. Since its inception in 1991, Art Loss has helped recover art and antiquities valued at up to $150-million, said Katie Dugdale, operations manager for Art Loss.

 

Still, there are about 150,000 items in the database that are unaccounted for, and Art Loss estimates that more than $5.5-billion worth of art has been stolen over the past 100 years.

 

Another concern is damage to the art through inept handling. The Munch paintings were ripped from their frames, and The Scream, which was painted on cardboard, is particularly fragile.

 

"The art could be irreplaceably lost even if it is recovered," said Koncick.

 

Lennie Bennett can be reached at 727 893-8293 or lennie@sptimes.com

 

ART THEFTS

 

Some other high-profile art thefts. Only one of these works has been recovered.

 

JULY 31: Ten Renaissance and Baroque paintings, valued at $5-million, were stolen from aRome hospital. They were in an unguarded restoration room.

 

MAY 19: A work by Pablo Picasso, valued at $3-million, was stolen from the restoration area atParis' Pompidou Center.

 

DEC. 16, 2003: A painting by Georgia O'Keeffe, valued at more than $500,000, was stolen from the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts in Santa Fe.

 

DEC. 22, 2000: Two Renoirs and a Rembrandt were stolen from Sweden's National Museum inStockholm. One Renoir was recovered.

 

MARCH 18, 1990: In what is considered the biggest art heist in history, Old Master paintings valued at more than $300-million were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum inBoston. Among them was Vermeer's The Concert.

 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Much money in Munch?

 

A brazen armed robbery team steals two world-famous paintings. Now what do they do with them?

August 23, 2004: 4:51 PM EDT

By Les Christie, CNN/Money contributing writer

 

 

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The audacious robbers who stole the nearly priceless Edvard Munch paintings, "The Scream" and "Madonna," from the Munch Museum in Oslo seem to have gotten away clean, at least so far. The big question, though, how can they turn the paintings into cash?

 

Interpol, the international police agency, reports that the black market in art theft ranks fourth among international criminal businesses, after drugs and arms smuggling and money laundering. That amounts to perhaps $5 billion a year, according to the FBI.

 

Most stolen works are usually unknown to the public, however, because world-famous works like "The Scream" are nearly impossible to fence.

 

Instead, says Dugdale, ransom demands often follow such thefts. A museum or government will often pay a substantial amount to ensure the artwork's return.

 

Ten years ago that's just what happened to another version of "The Scream" (Munch executed four). The 1893 painting was stolen during the distraction brought on by the onset of the Lillehammer Olympic Games, from the National Art Museum in Oslo. The thieves reportedly climbed a ladder, entered through a window (setting off an alarm that was ignored by security guards), grabbed the work, and left a postcard thanking the museum for its poor security.

The thieves demanded $1 million for the painting, which authorities never paid. The negotiations, however, helped them recover the work in a sting operation three months after the theft. Three Norwegians were arrested.

Custom-made thefts

 

Dugdale says that some well-known works may be stolen to order. That is, a collector with an overwhelming need may pay criminals to steal a specific work of art. Of course, the collector would have to derive satisfaction from anonymous possession of the piece; he or she could never display it.

 

An FBI spokeswoman says the bureau regards the Munch theft as "a very unusual case, because it was an armed robbery." Art thieves usually employ guile rather than brute force.

 

One exception was the 2001 smash-and-grab theft of three paintings, including a Gainsborough, from the Beit Collection in Ireland. Thieves plowed a Jeep through the front door of the estate that housed the paintings, then took the art and drove off.

 

But most art thefts, like the original "Scream" caper, seem to take advantage of inadequate security provisions at museums and galleries.

 

One of the most famous examples took place in 1911 when a former Louvre worker walked into the museum, saw that the room holding the "Mona Lisa" was empty of guards and visitors, took the painting off its pegs, went to a staircase, removed the painting from its frame, and walked out with it under his arm.

 

The da Vinci went missing for two years until the thief, Vincenzo Peruggia (who became an Italian national hero of sorts), tried to sell it. The buyer went to the cops.

 

The biggest art theft in American history took place at the Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990, when thieves disguised as police officers knocked on a museum door in the middle of the night. They were obligingly allowed entrance by two security guards, whom they quickly overpowered.

 

That haul included a Vermeer, three Rembrandts, and a Manet, and was worth perhaps $300 million. Some overtures were made to authorities for ransoming the paintings but negotiations got no results and the works are still missing.

 

When the Star of India, a 563-carat sapphire and a masterwork of nature, and other gems were stolen from the Museum of Natural History in New York in 1964, it was even more of a comedy of errors.

 

The thieves unlocked a bathroom window during museum open hours, climbed in that night, found that the sapphire was the only gem in the collection protected by an alarm -- and the battery for that was dead. So they raked up the stones, and fled the same way they came in.

 

The thieves were quickly caught, but not all the jewels were recovered. One, the Delong Star Ruby, had to be ransomed back to the museum for $25,000. Another, the 14-carat Eagle Diamond was never recovered, and is thought to have been cut up into smaller stones.

 

Uninsured loss

 

The Munch paintings, the London Times reported, were uninsured against theft. That's not unusual in the art-exhibition world -- the Gardner works weren't insured, either.

 

"Many museums can't afford the exorbitant premiums that insurers would have to charge for coverage of these priceless paintings," Dugdale says.

 

But as John Oeyaas, of Oslo Forsikring, the city-owned company that insured the paintings against damage, told the Associated Press, "These are irreplaceable and insurance would mean nothing."

 

If the theft was not made to order, the thieves may find themselves in a difficult position, unable to sell the piece, with no insurer to negotiate with, and perhaps wary of ransoming the works through the authorities.

 

If so, the paintings could wind up tucked away someplace under less-than-ideal conditions. Norway could suffer a permanent blow to its artistic patrimony.  http://money.cnn.com/2004/08/23/pf/munchtheft/index.htm

 

 

4/4/2003
Police Recover Stolen Dali Painting

 

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish police said they had recovered a painting by surrealist Salvador Dali on Thursday that was stolen four years ago.

"The Motionless Swallow," valued at 300,000 euros ($323,600), was found in an antique shop in Madrid that had acquired the painting "in good faith" from a Barcelona art dealer, police said in a statement.

The work and a number of antiques had been stolen from a private home in Girona province in the northeastern region of Catalonia, not far from Dali's home town of Figueres.

The painting had been taken to several European countries. Police said the suspects, three Spaniards and two French, would be detained shortly.

One of the suspects attempted to auction the work in London on June 25 last year through Sotheby's auction house, police said.

Dali, one of Spain's greatest painters of the 20th century along with Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro, was also known for his showmanship and flamboyant handlebar mustache. He died in 1989 at age 84.

 

Questions? e-mail me dali42@email.com

 

 

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