Get your bidder numbers and paddles ready because it’s happening again – an extremely popular original work of art will be up for sale at Sotheby’s in New York on May 2nd. Apparently, this 1895 version of Edvard Munch’s celebrated painting “The Scream”, which has been merchandised up the wazoo on mouse pads, hats, t-shirts, tote bags, inflatable dolls, and plush toys, is expected to sell for more than $80 million.
According to Arts Beat at the New York Times, “Munch made four versions of the composition, which has become the embodiment of angst and existential dread. Three are in Norwegian museums and this one, pastel on board, from 1895, is the only “Scream” still in private hands. It is being sold by Petter Olsen, a Norwegian businessman and shipping heir whose father, Thomas, was a friend, neighbor and patron of the artist.”
Arts Beat continues, “Besides being one of the most recognizable images in art history, “The Scream’’ is also one of the most often stolen. Versions of it have been taken twice, first in 1994, when two thieves entered the National Gallery of Norway and fled with an 1893 “Scream” (it was recovered unharmed later that year), and then in 2004, when masked gunmen stole the 1910 version as well as Munch’s “Madonna” from the Munch Museum, also in Oslo (both works were recovered two years later).”
Simon Shaw, who heads Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern art department in New York, said in an interview with Arts Beat, “The Scream is unique. Everybody knows it, but paradoxically few people have ever really seen it in person. When you stand in front of the painting it’s really quite scary. It has the power to shock.’’
Indeed, that kind of price tag often shocks me. How about you? More importantly, tell us the truth – have you ever purchased a t-shirt, poster, or coffee mug, etc., depicting Munch’s “The Scream”?
- Munch’s The Scream to go on sale (bbc.co.uk)
- The Most Expensive Paintings Ever Sold (theartwolf.com)
- Top 10 Most Expensive Auction Items (time.com)
- It’s Unthinkable (zatista.com)