The Pastel Scream

Edvard Munch "The Scream"

Edvard Munch’s celebrated painting The Scream will be up for sale at Sotheby’s in New York on May 2nd. Edvard Munch made four versions of the composition, which has become the embodiment of angst and existential dread. Three are in Norwegian museums and this one, pastel on board, from 1895, is the only “Scream” still in private hands. It is being sold by Petter Olsen, a Norwegian businessman whose father, Thomas, was a friend, neighbor and patron of the artist. This version of the painting is different from the others in several ways. It is the most colorful of the four, and the only version whose original frame was hand-painted by the artist with a poem describing a walk at sunset (“I felt a whiff of Melancholy — I stood / Still, deathly tired”) that inspired the painting. It is also the only “Scream” in which one of the two figures in the background turns to look outward onto the cityscape.

It is estamated it could bring more than $80 million.

Pastel on Board, from 1895.
Size 59×79 cm.

Update after the sale. May 2nd, 2012.
Munch’s masterpice was sold for $119,922,500 / € 91,033,826 (includes buyer’s premium), in an evening where $330,568,550 marked the highest-ever total for an auction of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s Worldwide. A group of at least eight bidders showed interest in Edvard Munch’s painting, but it would be an over 12 minutes long battle between two highly determined phone bidders that would settle the final selling price.

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