Munch paintings: replacements offered

There's no news on the whereabouts of the two paintings stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo recently, but their disappearance has prompted a good deal of navel-gazing in the Swedish press.

Dagens Nyheter’s Niklas Ekdal used Munch’s bleak subject matter as an entrance point for a long discussion on unhappy Nordic folk – pointing out that while the Nordic countries routinely come out at the top of quality-of-life surveys, the happiest countries tend to be warm places like Venezuela, Mexico, and Nigeria.

Ekdal mused that “the consumer society has given us an unhealthy obsession with ourselves” and pointed out that “careers, shopping, and plastic surgery have their limitations.”

In the same paper, Mats Holmberg took the opportunity to look back on the history of big art capers and concluded that “art robberies will happen again and again, as long as people want to look at original art”.

These opportunities for self-reflection might come to an end, sadly, as collectors are already coming forth with replacements for the two paintings that were stolen. Verdens Gang reported this week that Nelson Blitz, a New York businessman, has offered to lend his “Madonna” to the Munch Museum if they need it.

A number of versions of “The Scream” are floating around and the Munch Museum should be able to get something on the walls in no time.