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Last Updated: Monday, 7 March, 2005, 20:43 GMT
Stolen Munch art found in Norway
Edvard Munch's Blue Dress
Edvard Munch's Blue Dress was stolen along with two portraits
Norwegian police have recovered three works by artist Edvard Munch in Oslo, the day after they were stolen.

The pieces, worth an estimated $320,000 (166,000), were taken from Refnes Gods Hotel, near the southern city of Moss.

The two lithographic prints and one watercolour were taken from the hotel's collection of seven Munch works.

Police said they made several arrests in connection with the heist, but did not yet know if it was linked to last year's theft of Munch's The Scream.

"Several people have been arrested and the paintings have been recovered", Iver Stensrud of the Oslo police told public radio NRK.

The Scream and Madonna are still missing. The Munch Museum in Oslo, where they were stolen, remains closed pending a security update.

Refnes Hotel displays hundreds of paintings by Norwegian artists, but none are protected by alarms.

Hotel managers said they had seen no need for that as the hotel was staffed 24 hours a day.

'Hard to sell'

An employee was said to have surprised two male thieves on Sunday night, but they escaped with three pictures. No-one was injured in the burglary.

Hotel owner Vidar Salbuvik said the two stolen lithographs were portraits, including one of the artist himself, and that the third was a 1915 watercolour entitled the Blue Dress.

The Scream - one of the four versions painted
Munch's The Scream was stolen from an Oslo museum last August

Art experts said the stolen pieces would be very hard to sell on the open market, as they were too well known to be bought by reputable dealers.

Critics say Munch developed an emotionally charged painting style that influenced the 20th Century Expressionist movement. He died in 1944 at the age of 80.

See the hotel where the Munch artworks were stolen

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