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Anyone going to SCREAM this year? (Munch)


From: Judith Decker (jdecker4art_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Aug 28 2004 - 06:13:47 PDT

Greetings Art Educators,

I am kind of surprised no one has mentioned this yet
(smile)...."The Scream" - stolen again...or was it?

Anyways, apparently the Scream that was stolen is not
the original one. The museum had a copy (by Munch) and
it was the copy that was stolen. Pascale Baud posted
this to World list:


Jonathan Jones
Wednesday August 25, 2004
The Guardian

The Scream by Edvard Munch

How many Screams are there? Reports of the theft of
a Scream from an Oslo museum at the weekend described
it as one of four versions of Edvard Munch's
despairing masterpiece. But depending on how you
calculate it, there are anything from two to 50
versions of this iconic image - although the
historian who has it at 50, in a book published
by Taschen, may, I feel, have drunk too much absinthe
trying to get into that symbolist fin-de-siècle mood.

The reason there are multiple versions is that Munch
was not trying to create a unique fine art image but a
symbol. Munch is the purest symbolist painter. This
late-19th-century art movement rejected the empirical,
seeking to reveal inner truths and archetypes of the
imagination. Symbolism was the
climax of Romanticism, and its twin antecedents were
late Romantics who created peculiarly monumental,
iconic artefacts: Edgar Allan Poe and Richard Wagner.

Poe wrote stories so clear and singular that they
invite reproduction, while Wagner's music deploys a
deliberately repetitive device, the leitmotif - a
recurring theme that began as a way to announce
characters but developed into something
abstract and disturbing. Wagner is the scary
grandfather of Munch's abandoned, benighted creature
who puts both hands to an elongated green face and
silently screams.

Munch's leitmotifs touched the painter personally.
What most obsessed him in his most famous image was
not the figure but the landscape. Reproductions and
rip-offs of The Scream often leave out the
"background" in their fascination with the weird,
ghostly figure - she or he or it.
But Munch's nightmare was that seaside scene, the
blob of water, the pier veering away, the wavy red
bands of fire in the sky, the vortex rush of shore. He
depicted this landscape in Despair, in 1892, a year
before he painted The Scream, and repeated it in
Anxiety in 1894. This abstracted vision of a
world cut loose from its moorings is as isolating as
the prelude to Tristan und Isolde.

In the same year Munch painted his most famous version
of The Scream, now in the National Gallery in Oslo,
he painted another, almost identical - and this
version was stolen on Sunday. The primary version has
also been stolen and recovered, but this time the
thieves went to the wrong gallery, and stole the
second best Scream. I can picture their
screeching, empty faces when they realise their
I didn't get permission from Jonathon Jones - but I am
sure he would want you to know this.

Here is the lastest on this from the BBC:
This was the fisr article:

See all of the related articles (links to the right)


Judy Decker

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