This Day in History–Edvard Munch’s “Scream” is Recovered


On February 12, 1994, the painting “Scream” by Edvard Munch is stolen in Oslo, Norway during the Winter Olympic Games. In just 50 seconds, during a breach in security, thieves were able to break a window, cut a steel wire, and make-off with the priceless work of art. The thieves, commenting on their easy and successful heist, left a note at the scene which stated, “thousand thanks for the bad security!” Since the painting was so recognizable, the thieves were unable to sell it. The painting was recovered three months later, on May 7, in a hotel room in Asgardstrand, 40 miles south of Oslo. In 2004, thieves stole a different version of the same painting, which was also recovered.

It is interesting to note why some paintings are frequent targets for theft. Money? Fame? Infamy? Irony? Political Statement? Censorship? Obsession? Just because? Whatever the motive, if any painting best expresses what it feels like to be kidnapped, it would be Munch’s “Scream.” Perhaps that was one of its main lures for its kidnappers–the odd appropriateness of it. Below is a link to other famous stolen works of art.


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