One of four versions of famous artwork could achieve $80m, making it one of most expensive art works sold at auction
A version of one of the most recognisable images in the world – Edvard Munch’s The Scream – is to be sold by Sotheby’s in New York .
The auction house said it could achieve in excess of $80m (£50m), which would make it one of the most expensive artworks ever sold at auction.
The pastel work is one of four versions created by the Norwegian artist using different techniques, and the only one in private hands. Simon Shaw, head of the impressionist and modern art department at Sotheby’s in New York, said: “Munch’s The Scream is the defining image of modernity, and it is an immense privilege for Sotheby’s to be entrusted with one of the most important works of art in private hands.
“Instantly recognisable, this is one of very few images which transcends art history and reaches a global consciousness. The Scream arguably embodies even greater power today than when it was conceived.
“At a time of great critical interest in the artist, and with the 150th anniversary of his birth in 2013, this spring is a particularly compelling time for The Scream to appear on the market. For collectors and institutions, the opportunity to acquire such a singularly influential masterpiece is unprecedented in recent times.”
Shaw said it was difficult to predict the value of The Scream but recent sales suggested that the price could exceed $80m. That would place it alongside auction record holders, such as Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, which holds the current record after it sold for $106m at Christie’s in New York in May 2010. That broke the previous record of $104.3m paid three months earlier for Giacometti’s Walking Man I at Sotheby’s in London.
The Scream is owned by the Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen – part of the Olsen shipping family – whose father, Thomas, was a friend and patron of Munch.
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