The world-famous painting “The Scream” by Edvard Munch was stolen from an exhibition connected with the Winter Olympics.
Two thieves broke through a window of the National Art Museum and cut a wire holding the painting to the wall, then left the wire cutters on the museum floor, police said. The theft was discovered when a patrolling police officer saw a ladder leaning against the museum wall.
The Munch exhibition was one of the highlights of a Norwegian Culture Festival set up in conjunction with the Winter Olympics, which begin today in Lillehammer.
“The alarm was set off and the thieves were registered by a security camera,” said the museum director, Knut Berg.
Alf Bues, director of the Munch Museum in Oslo, called the work “one of the world’s most famous paintings” and said it is so well-known that it is unlikely the thieves could sell it.
Munch, a Norwegian painter and graphic artist who worked in Germany as well as his home country, developed an emotionally charged style that was of great importance in the birth of the 20th century Expressionist movement. He painted “The Scream” in 1893, as part of his “Frieze of Life” series, in which sickness, death, anxiety and love are central themes. He died in 1944 at the age of 81.