Do you ever wonder what you would do if you had USD120 million to spare? Perhaps a block of real estate somewhere, a company? In New York, an art collector who remains anonymous has decided that the best way to spend his $120 million was to acquire Edvard Munch's The Scream, setting a record for one of the highest prices ever put down for one work of art, and the highest price ever put down at auction.
Watching the video, you'd think that the audience were shelling out dollars instead of millions for Munch's work. The bids climbed in increases of $1 million, and bidding at the start rose faster than you could count the seconds. Within a minute, the price had shot up by $10 million, and the entire auction of The Scream was complete in 12 minutes. Only four editions of the work are around, and the one sold was widely regarded as the most significant piece as Munch had personally painted the frame as well, and included his poem that expressed the inspiration for the work.
Munch's The Scream has inspired numerous references in popular culture, most memorably the Scream series of movies, where the serial killer acquires a mask akin to Munch's depiction of horror in the work. This particular edition was sold by Norweigian businessman Peter Olsen, whose father was a patron of Munch. Proceeds of this sale will go to the funding of a museum, hotel and art centre in Norway where Olsen's family were neighbours to Edvard Munch.
In the art world today, there are only a handful of paintings that have achieved a price exceeding $100 million. The most expensive piece of art ever acquired by an individual has to be Cezanne's The Card Players, which was sold last year to a Qatar sheikh for a staggering $250 million. Other pieces include Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust.
Check out the video discussing The Scream with Adam Gopnik and Simon Shaw on its appeal and nature.