“The Scream”, one of the iconic paintings of a bald figure howling, hands covering ears, sold last night for a record-breaking $119,922,500. Edward Munch’s melancholic masterpiece made auction house Sotheby’s much happier last night, setting a new record for the most expensive piece sold at auction, ever.
The sale screamed “profit” to the seller, as painting soared past the auction house’s pre-auction estimate of $80 million dollars at the conclusion of a 15-minute bidding war.
Purchased by an anonymous buyer, the painting is one of four works created by the artist with the same composition. The version sold last night is considered by experts to be the “best” of the four.
Mark Winter, director of Munch Experts, told the Guardian, “It is the crown jewel of the four but you really need a national budget to buy it. And not the budget of a small country, either.”
Tobias Meyer, the Sotheby’s auctioneer, told Reuters the bidder got a good deal. “It’s worth every penny that the collector paid.”
The painting includes a frame hand-painted by the artist with a poem about the painting’s inspiration: He was “shivering with anxiety” and feeling “the great scream in nature.”
- Jen Wallace