The Scream Sells At Auction For Record $120m
The Scream by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch has become the most expensive work of art ever sold at auction after being bought for $119.9m (£74m).
The piece went under the hammer at Sotheby's auction house in New York after a tense 12-minute bidding war between seven buyers.
The painting, which dates from 1895, had been expected to fetch at least $80m (£49.3m), but when the price rose past $100m (£61.8m), the 800-strong crowd inside the auction house burst into applause.
One bidder who was taking instructions from a client on the phone hesitated as the painting got more expensive.
This prompted auctioneer and Sotheby's head of modern art Tobias Meyer, to joke: "Don't worry, for $99m, I've got all the time in the world."
When the final bid was made, by an unnamed buyer over the telephone, the crowd gasped before cheering as the gavel came down.
The painting was bought over the telephone by an unnamed buyer. Once the sale was sealed, the room erupted in applause and cheering.
The previous record for the most expensive work of art sold at auction had been held by Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves And Bust which went for $106.5m (£65.6m) at Christie's two years ago. The name of the buyer has never been confirmed but it is rumoured that Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was the buyer.
Head of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art New York department Simon Shaw told Sky News Online: "I can't think of an occasion quite so historic as the presentation of Edvard Munch's The Scream.
"It's an image perhaps more recognisable than any other picture, which is part of our visual culture today.
"It's hard to think of another work which would be quite so transformative for a collector or a museum."
Part of the reason for the excitement around The Scream, which dates from 1895, is that it is the last of four versions of the painting in private hands.
The other three are all in museums in Oslo, two of which have previously been taken by thieves and subsequently recovered, making it one of the world's most stolen paintings.
It was sold by private collector Petter Olsen, whose father was friends with the artist.
Ahead of the sale, Mr Olsen said: "I have lived with this work all my life, and its power and energy have only increased with time.
"Now, however, I feel the moment has come to offer the rest of the world a chance to own and appreciate this remarkable work."
The Scream is often described as the defining image of the Expressionist movement.
David Norman, Sotheby's global head of Impressionist and Modern Art, told Sky News: "It has become, over the course of the 20th Century, the most representative image of the anxiety, the despair, the enormity of confronting human existence.
"During every era, especially the violence of the 20th Century and most particularly World War II and the Holocaust, the picture just keeps resonating and gathering strength as a commentary, and I believe it will continue to do that well in to the future."
what do you think?
I'm sorry but to me it always looked like it's been done in crayon by a drunk bloke using his foot. Perhaps that's why i got a D in Art.
More money than sense, the money could have done a lot of good.
Agree, michele, makes you wonder what planet some people are on!
well that sure is one heck of a lot of money for one painting but i must admit to loving it myself.i wonder if the new buyer would take a cheque for £9.00 as that is all i could spare right now.but ,this sale does illustrate the ever growing gap between the rich and the poor around the world and not just in the UK. think how much good that money could bring to the starving and homeless peoples of all countries-in that respect it is vulgar and obscene. imagine the cost of your household insurance when you inform them of your new purchase ! a sad but very true indictment of our current unbalanced society-however beautiful the painting actually is -nothing is worth that amount of money.
Well I needed something to cover the damp patch in the bathroom
Society has and always will be imbalanced when it comes to wealth. Nothing will change that so why not enjoy the art and accept that someone somewhere will at sometime buy an iconic piece of art that will make the headlines
Recession? What recession??? It seems obscene in my opinion, especially when over 95% of the worlds population are really struggling, financially. What they don't say is how much commission Sotheby's made....still, at least they won't be going hungry this century......
Dont understand why you find it disgusting,after all if you had billions of pounds in your bank account wouldnt you want the best of the best,or are you saying you would only spend on things you really need because you would feel guilty because of other people struggling in the world?
Politics of envy!
No, people are not envious, just disgusted!
There seems to be a lot of moaning about this person buying a painting for millions of pounds,but you dont know who bought it you dont know what this person gives away to charitable organisations every year,after all said if you people had billions in the bank you would buy the best,this person has done just that
Funnily enough, if i had that amount of money it would be the last thing i would buy, sooner put my money to better use! When people value " things objects" over all the suffering around.....beyond belief!
Blimey - didn't know someone had done a portrait of my fella :D
yeh his girlfriend did it ...lol
ha ha nice one :)
while he was thinking about his girlfriend....
you cant put a price on art
Yes you can
Shocked, but not completely surprised that this iconic work of expressionist art broke all records. I too, would love to have acquired it, for it was the only opportunity in our lifetimes to posses such a work. All those that bemoan the price realized should remember that art is part of the human condition, and one which extends back in time to our ancestral stone-age forbears, whose cave paintings we find fascinating. Read more about art and, then you may begin to understand the difference between price and value. Art will not fill bellies, but it can feed the soul of mankind.
Try telling that to the starving millions!
Anna Nocilla Byrne
the feelings and emotions this simple picture conveys is behond comparison...
Not for that amount of money it dont!
Your Marxist, Leninist views carry no weight here, (Julie Crumpton), in this subject - read more and learn about the diversity of art from all cultures, and all levels of income before making puerile remarks!
Mac...... Im not marxist etc, im just an ordinary person who stands her opinion......waste of money, money that could have been put to a far better use! Not only that.....its bloody horrible!...... Pick the bones out of that!!
Well said Julie!
Thankyou joan! X
Imagine if it was painted on a large sheet of edible rice paper.
wonder if this is the same picture that was hanging in my 7yr. old grandsons classroom last week.
One word. Obscene
2 words......i agree!
william piero chainey
The problem is now i cant afford the screw to put it on my wall. Makes you want too scream.
The most depressing painting I have ever seen.The look on the face was that of my husband when he died in agony.The critics say it should make us reflect on the horrors of the 20th century or that art should reflect life. I believe that art should please and lift our spirits.Anyone with a social conscience does not need to look at ugly pictures to feel pity ....if we need this ugly art then there is something wrong with us! I remember reading that you can fool an art critic but not the general public.
Well said, carol! ....and im sorry for your loss.... I also believe that the soul needs to see uplifting pictures, that picture is hideous! Give us it here....i will stick it on the bonfire where it belongs!
sick...... ,world wide recession............what a load of jackson pollocks
It's a fake, got the real one in my loft !!!!!! ( I wish)
All that money for a painting and people starving in the world. Its obscene!
Joan - sorry, but there is no connection between the painting and people starving. If the churches 'sold' all their wealth, you may have a point
Well lets see them sell theirstuff off then!
Brian Robert Woolgar
Talk about money for old rope