Munch's 'The Scream' Might Muster $80 Million at Auction

Edvard Munch's iconic "The Scream" will lead Sotheby's May 2 Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York.
Edvard Munch's iconic "The Scream" will lead Sotheby's May 2 Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale in New York.
(Sotheby's)

One of four versions of Edvard Munch’s iconic “The Scream” will lead Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern sale on May 2 in New York. 

This widely-recognized masterpiece, painted in 1895, is the last version to be privately held, and has been in the possession of Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen for some years. 

He attained the painting from his father who was a patron, friend and neighbor of Munch’s when both were living in Hvitsten, Norway. Olsen plans to have the proceeds go toward the funding of a new art center in that town and restore Munch's studio and house, allowing guests to stay in the latter.

As the work is estimated to go for upwards of $80 million, the sale should be able to fund a substantial art center.

Munch (1863-1944), the Norwegian Expressionist painter, is best-known for "The Scream," considered to be the defining image of modern life.

The painting shows a strange mummy-like figure standing on a bridge with his hands clutching either side of his face. The sky above is made up mainly of violent orange-red swirls and the entire painting seems to undulate.

Various versions of “The Scream” have been the object of high profile art thefts.  In 1994, the National Gallery in Oslo had their version stolen; it was recovered some months later.  In 2004 another version of the painting was stolen from the Munch Museum, it was feared destroyed, but eventually turned up, somewhat worse for the wear, in 2006.

The version going up at Sotheby’s in May is a pastel on board, and said to be even more vibrant in color than the other three. 

It also is in a frame hand-painted by the artist himself, and inscribed with a poem.  In the poem, Munch describes himself as “shivering with anxiety” and feeling “the great scream in nature.” 

If the price tag of $80 million is attained, it would be among the highest-ever for an artwork.

(Report: Christine Bolli for ARTFIXdaily)

More News Feed Headlines

"Balloon Dog (Orange)" by Jeff Koons sold for $58.4 million at Christie's in Nov.  2013.

Contemporary Art Hits $2-Billion Record at Auction

  • September 24, 2014 13:15

The contemporary art market, buoyed by high demand and massive growth in China, smashed through the $2-billion mark for the first time in a record-breaking 2013/14...

Read More

Vermeer's "Officer and Laughing Girl" c.  1657 was sold by Knoedler to Henry Clay Frick.  It is now in the Frick Collection, NY.

Getty Posts Knoedler Archives Online

  • September 24, 2014 13:15

Gilded Age industrialist and museum founder Henry Clay Frick picked up iconic works by Bellini, Vermeer and Goya, among others, from Knoedler Gallery. Who else bought what...

Read More

Robert Wardlaw shoe, size 35

Possible World's Biggest Shoe Walks Onto 'Antiques Roadshow'

  • September 23, 2014 22:22

A really big shoe once belonging to Robert Wardlaw, the Midwesterner known as the tallest man ever recorded, was brought into a PBS "Antiques Roadshow" taping.

Read More

Jean Nouvel, design for NAMOC, north view

Architect Jean Nouvel Reveals Big Plans for National Art Museum of China

  • September 22, 2014 21:23

Spanning 1,399,308 square feet, more than double the size of the Louvre, a new National Art Museum ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

37342173

ArtfixDaily Artwire