March 07, 2005

More Munch Stolen Poor Edvard Munch. Not only have "Skrik" and "Madonna" been stolen, but his headhead was sawn off, only to be returned, and now, this.

Who is buying this stuff?

  • bastiges.
  • Only Bastiges and Farking Iceholes. Even if I were an eccentric multimillionaire, I would gladly settle for a high quality litho so as not to deprive the public of a masterpiece.
  • Munchkins?
  • It's just that sort of thinking which prevents you from becoming a millionaire.
  • *nods, puts "Johnny Dangerously" on his to-be-rewatched list*
  • Update: the latest pictures taken have just been recovered, and several people arrested.
  • Quite right, ActuallySettle... and if I have to think that way in order to become rich, I'll happily stay non-rich and keep my quiet conscience.
  • Very well my pet.
  • BTW this is why we need to 3d scan every significant piece of art with like 36 bit color. They've done it with michelangelo. Some of the scanners are accurate to something like millionths of a meter.
  • Weird! That painting's name is.... and your name is.... ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
  • Dude he fucking stole it he's gloating
  • Do those poor Norwegians only have one painter that's theft-worthy?
  • I think when you live in a country that beautiful the idea of painting would seem futile to most. See what I mean?
  • "Who is buying this stuff?" Even when I was a beat cop in Bumpkinsville, Missouri, I came across the odd art theft case. People who place absurd values on one of a kind items sometimes (some would say often) lose perspective when they have an opportunity to acquire some rare gem not in their collection. There are more common manifestations of the mindset behind these obsessions: kids will swipe collectible cards from one another and stores, and I remember a few years ago reading about a brawl over beanie babies, of all absurd things. I'm sure many of us recall the improbable fights seemingly 'normal' people got into over those hideous cabbage patch kids. Then you get into the fakes market (for everything from fine art to mass-produced crap like the aforementioned beanie babies) and the nuances of the desirability of first-runs, signed pieces, artists' proofs, etc. People will steal anything at any time for no apparent reason, and many of these items also have a market that the more honest of us are surprised to learn exists. Invest in security systems and you'll never go broke.
  • At one point in my career I worked in an art museum that had a bunch of very valuable manuscript pages and other medieval art stolen. Turned out they were taken by a security guard who was using them to decorate his apartment. We are/were supposed to keep that very quiet. . . Around 1900, when the Mona Lisa was stolen, a bunch of replicas were soon thereafter marketed as originals to wealthy collectors around the world. The museum I worked in has one in the vault - so do a lot of American museums - but we have to keep that quiet as well, hee hee hee. The real one was returned, of course. All museum pieces are marked, probably not with something as high tech as Actually Settle's suggestion of 32 bit color (what, microchips?) above, but they are all clearly and indelibly marked as the property of the museum in question. Even if the museum decides to later deaccession a piece, that marking only helps the provenance, so nobody objects to it. It's very difficult to remove; all reputable auction houses can spot it, so your market for stolen museum artworks is really very small. Like, a pawnshop. Now, stealing stuff from a hotel is different, and although a good dealer or auction house wouldn't touch that watercolor, it's quite possible a slightly dumber/less honest dealer might. The other reason that art thefts get publicity immediately is to alert those dealers - they now know exactly what they're buying. Pieces that are as well known as Skrik are almost totally unsaleable, which is probably why it was stolen before and returned (too tired to google, but yes, it was.) The only way to make money as an international art thief these days is to have a very wealthy unscrupulous art collector with a specific shopping list, and there aren't really a lot of those - they spend most of their money on the shark tanks and metal toothed servants, after all.
  • So if Skrik is posting about Skrik, does that make this a self-link? /yes, I am joking, and yes, it is silly/stupid. But I never knew where Skrik's name was from before - it's very cool.
  • Mare: short answer: yes. Mygothlaundry: Skrik was returned last time after the police set up a sting and the idiot who stole the thing (he fell off the ladder on the way into the gallery) walked right into it, not suspecting a thing in the world.
  • No update? Well, paintings recovered.
  • No update? .
  • Thank god. I hope that the damage is minor, as they say, and can be restored. I have no doubt that if the report is accurate, that it can be. I saw the damage done to Leonardo's Virgin and Child with St Anne and Infant St John in 1987, and the result after restoration, and to my eyes I couldn't see where the damage had been, so I'm sure that these will be OK.
  • Yay! Thanks SMT Chy what damage? I am obviously an uninitated dolt and also my Googlefu on the issue sucks. I found this which was interesting especially the Freud part but nothing about the damage to that painting/drawing
  • Yes, it's strangely not mentioned in detail in many places on the web, from what I can see. I should have made it clear that the version of the work I referred to is the sketch in the National Gallery in London, the same size as the finished painting, but not the actual completed work itself. A madman with a shotgun emptied one or both barrels into it. I completely forget the circumstances of how he got in with a gun. Those were the days of pre-terrorist paranoia, even though the IRA had had their days, and you could get around with much more ease, I think. It is quite a large preliminary sketch (called a cartoon). Luckily it was behind safety glass, but that shattered in a circular pattern and impacted into the delicately thin 16th century paper, tearing and shredding it in (if my memory of it is correct) a crater-like manner, rending the surface in tiny fissures. Afterwards, (again, if my memory from later serves) it was almost completely repaired to the point where the damage was near invisible to the eye, although the passage of time may have fudged my recall. The restoration was extremely good. I think at very close range you can see some repaired areas, but the thing bears all the marks of its years so doesn't look obviously patched.
  • Ah, thank you. I see there is a video about it. With a little luck, my local public liberry will have a copy. And this thread wouldn't be complete without Homer's Scream
  • Madonna has taken the harder beating. Hm.