In 2009, Norwegian burglars smashed an Oslo art gallery’s window with a rock and made off with a valuable 1914 lithograph by famed Expressionist artist Edvard Munch. Earlier this week, the Associated Press reports, police located the work and arrested two men connected to its theft.
The hand-colored lithograph, Historien (History), is undamaged. As for the men in custody, police suspect that, while they were in possession of the print and other stolen goods, they didn’t steal the art themselves. According to officials, the two individuals—who both have criminal records and are known to Norwegian police—faced a pre-trial detention hearing yesterday. One of the arrested men’s lawyers says his client denies the charge, Norway's NTB news agency reports.
Historien depicts an elderly bearded man perched on a rock underneath a tree, speaking to a young boy. As of its time of theft, it was valued at €240,000 ($244,000). However, experts said it was too famous to sell on the mainstream market.
Pascal Nyborg, the gallery owner who suffered the theft, no longer runs the business, according to Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). However, he's still happy that the lithograph was found. “The case had been dropped, and I think it’s fantastic that the art was recovered anyway,” Nyborg told NRK.
Munch’s works have tempted many a thief. A copy of The Scream was pilfered from Norway’s National Gallery in 1994, and undercover detectives posed as art dealers to recover the goods. In 2006, police rescued two Munch paintings—a second copy of The Scream and another oil masterpiece, Madonna—that had been swiped by masked bandits from Oslo’s Munch Museum two years prior. And in 2005, officials arrested nine individuals who were connected with the theft of Munch's watercolor Blaa Kjole, or Blue Dress, and two of his lithographs.