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The $80 Million Scream?

Edvard Munch’s The Scream goes up for auction at Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on May 2, 2012. With auction estimates of $80 million, it might be nice to know more about the masterpiece.

While The Scream is the world’s second most recognized artwork (the Mona Lisa retains the top position), there are actually four works entitled The Scream. That is, four works by Edvard Munch; I’m not including the vast number of reproductions, from paper wall posters to kitschy merchandise, from pop culture poses to Andy Warhol’s homage (which sold in March for 313,250 GPB — well above the auction estimate of 150,000-200,000).

Munch created two paintings and two pastels of The Scream. The one up for auction is one of the pastels. With a date of 1895, the pastel on board measures 32 inches by 23.25 inches. It is the only one of the four versions that remains in private hands, being sold by Petter Olsen, whose father was said to be a friend, neighbor and patron of Edvard Munch. Whether or not the work remains in private hands will be seen when the gavel falls on May 2nd.

UPDATE May 2, 2012: Edvard Munch’s The Scream set a world record when it sold for $119.9 million at Sotheby’s.


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