The only privately owned version of Edvard Munch’s 1895 “The Scream” painting is heading to Sotheby’s auction in New York on May 2. The famous artwork is expected to go for more than $80 million, the highest estimate any piece of art has been given by an auctioneer.
Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen owns “The Scream”. It is reported that Olsen’s father was a neighbor and friend of Munch.
Senior vice president and head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department in New York, Simon Shaw, said “The Scream” is one of the most important works of art in private hands. He also noted that it is one of the most recognizable images in art and popular culture, perhaps only second to the “Mona Lisa.”
“Given how rarely true icons come to the market it is difficult to predict The Scream’s value,” he added. “The recent success of masterpieces at Sotheby’s suggests that the price could exceed $80 million.”
The piece’s frame features a hand-painted inscription where Munch speaks of his inspiration for the artwork, reading, “My Friends walked on – I remained behind/shivering with Anxiety-I felt the great Scream in Nature.”
Once sold, Olsen plans to take the proceeds from the sale and build a new museum, art center and hotel at his farm back in Norway.