One of the most recognized works in art history, Edvard Munch's expressionist masterpiece "The Scream" has set a world record in price, being sold for nearly $120 million at a New York auction.
Edvard Munch's iconic painting "The Scream" fetched $119.9 million at a New York auction on Wednesday setting a world record for the greatest sum ever paid at an art auction.
The auction at Sotheby's in New York City took about 15 minutes and ended in cheers and applause. The bidding between seven collectors ended at $119,922,500 (91.2 million euros), far exceeding the $80 million auctioneers expected. The previous record was set by Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust," sold for $106.5 million by Christie's in 2010.
The 1895 pastel-on-board work is one of four versions painted by the Norwegian expressionist, and is the only one left in private hands. The image of a man screaming with hands on his cheeks under a vibrantly blood-red sky has become one of the most recognizable images in art history.
"This is one of the very few images which transcends art history and reaches a global consciousness," said Simon Shaw, head of the Impressionist and modern department at Sotheby's.
In a poem written to accompany the painting, Munch describes himself "shivering with anxiety" and feeling "the great scream in nature."
Two other versions of "The Scream" were stolen from museums on two separate occasions, but both were recovered.
The work was sold by Norwegian businessman Oetter Olsen. Proceeds are to fund a new museum, art center and hotel in Norway.
acb/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)