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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Rescue Artist

Book #33 of my '06 reading list was Edward Dolnick's Edgar Award winning The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece. The book follows detective Charley Hill, a member of the Scotland Yard's Art Squad, as he tries to recover Munch's The Scream after it was brazenly stolen from the Norway's National Gallery during the 1994 Winter Olympics.

I picked this one up because we visited the National Gallery and the Munch Museum when we were in Norway this summer. Munch's a fascinating chap and this book just piqued my interest , so I'll definitely be reading more about him soon. I mean c'mon dude painted a Self-Portrait in Hell how hardcore is that?!

In an odd coincidence, about four days into my reading of the book it was announced that police had just recovered the copy of The Scream stolen from the Munch museum in August 2004. I was intially confused by the fact that they had just recovered it when I know we saw it in the Munch Museum this summer, but I was relieved to find that I'm not crazy and that there are actually four total copies of The Scream in existence.

Shocking bonus factoid of the day: according to Dolnick fencing stolen art is the third largest underground business coming in right after drug and arms trafficking. I now have a much better understanding of why getting into the Munch Musuem is like trying to tour Fort Knox now-a-days.