One of the world’s most famous paintings, Norwegian artist Edvard Munch’s The Scream, fetched just under $120 million at an auction in New York City on Wednesday.
The 1895 canvas of features anguished person holding his ears in the foreground of a landscape painted in swishing, colourful lines. The Scream leaped from high art to popular culture in the last century, becoming a globally recognized image representing anxiety, fear or suffering.
According the New York Times, the $107 million bid set a world record for any work of art offered at auction, and was offered by phone. The still unnamed buyer will pay the remaining $12 million and change in fees to the auction house, Sotheby’s.
Munch painted four versions of The Scream, but only the one auctioned on Wednesday evening remains in private hands.
From the New York Times:
Not even Sotheby’s specialists expected such a figure. The estimate quoted to me the day before by Simon Shaw, head of the New York department, was $80 million, plus the sale charge. Several factors can be cited to account for this historic event, which was greeted by applause and shouts from the audience when the auctioneer Tobias Meyer brought down his gavel on the $107 million bid.