• Norway edition
 
Edvard Munch's 'Scream' to go under the hammer

Edvard Munch's 'Scream' to go under the hammer

Published: 21 Feb 2012 13:57 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Feb 2012 17:29 GMT+01:00

Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend and patron of "Scream" painter Edvard Munch, owns the work, which will go on the block in New York on May 2nd, headlining the Impressionist and Modern Art sales.

Sotheby's described "The Scream" as "one of the most instantly recognizable images in both art history and popular culture, perhaps second only to the 'Mona Lisa.'"

There are four versions of the painting, which features a man screaming and clutching his head against a wavy, brightly-coloured landscape, but this is the only one in private hands.

The influence of the disturbing picture, described by Munch as recording a moment of paralyzing anxiety during a walk with friends in the hills above Oslo, has few parallels.

Andy Warhol and "The Simpsons" reference the painting and it has been treated in countless books, films and exhibitions.

On two occasions, other versions of the painting have been stolen from museums, although both were recovered. Copies have adorned everything from student dorms to tea mugs and the work is arguably one of the few known equally to art experts and the general public alike.

Dating from 1895, "The Scream" offered by Sotheby's was done in pastel and is the only one in which one of the two figures in the background turns to look outward. The work will be exhibited at Sotheby's in London on April 13th and in New York starting April 27th ahead of the sale.

Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art department in New York, called "The Scream" the "defining image of modernity."

"Instantly recognizable, this is one of very few images which transcends art history and reaches a global consciousness. 'The Scream' arguably embodies even greater power today than when it was conceived," he said in a statement.

Olsen said in a statement that he wants proceeds from the sale to go toward establishment of a new museum and hotel on his farm in Hvitsten, Norway.

Munch died in his native Norway in January 1944 at the age of 80. In a poem the artist inscribed on the frame of the version coming up for sale, Munch wrote of feeling "deathly tired" and while letting his friends walk on, "I remained behind/ shivering with Anxiety -- I felt the great Scream in Nature."

The two thefts only added to "The Scream's" intensely high profile. In 1994, at the start of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, thieves took the primary version from the National Gallery in Oslo. It was returned unharmed later that year.

A decade later, masked gunmen stole the 1910 version from the Munch Museum in Oslo, along with another of his works. Both were recovered two years later.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Gas leak brings chaos to Norwegian town

Gas leak brings chaos to Norwegian town

An ammonia leak at a dairy in South-West Norway led to nine people hospitalised and the town centre evacuated on Tuesday. READ  

Oslo: Police arrest 16 after drugs bust
Police chief Kåre Stølen and assistant Roger Andresen speak at press conference after the Oslo raids. Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix Prices

Oslo: Police arrest 16 after drugs bust

Police arrested 16 people on Tuesday during a drug raid in Oslo where the suspects are said to have used teenagers to sell marijuana on the streets. READ  

Queen Sonja of Norway's nephew jailed
Queen Sonja of Norway. Photo: Martti Kainulainen / NTB scanpix

Queen Sonja of Norway's nephew jailed

The nephew of Queen Sonja of Norway and founder of Synnøve Finden’s cheese factory, Dag Swanstrøm, was sentenced to eight month in jail for embezzlement on Tuesday. READ  

Ex-Norway PM set to become head of Nobel
Kjell Magne Bondevik. Photo: Vegard Grøtt / NTB scanpix

Ex-Norway PM set to become head of Nobel

The Nobel Prize committee announced their likely successor as Norway’s former Prime Minister, Kjell Magne Bondevik, to replace Thorbjørn Jagland if he is forced out of his position. READ  

Vestfold bus fire causes 25m kroner damage
13 buses ablaze in Stokke, South-East Norway. Photo: Peder Gjersøe / NTB scanpix

Vestfold bus fire causes 25m kroner damage

A huge mystery blaze in a Vestfold industrial estate on Tuesday morning saw 13 luxury buses go up in smoke, worth an estimated 25 million kroner ($4 million). READ  

Jagland faces Nobel committee exclusion
Thorbjørn Jagland is unsure of his future as leader of the Nobel Prize committee. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Jagland faces Nobel committee exclusion

Torbjørn Jagland believes giving the Nobel Peace Prize to the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo is the reason the Conservative Party is considering deposing him as head of the committee, the former Labour party chief said on Monday. READ  

Work begins to revamp government HQ in Oslo
Work begins on Norway's most expensive construction project. Photo: Terje Pedersen / NTB scanpix

Work begins to revamp government HQ in Oslo

Work began on Monday to demolish and revamp the Norwegian government's headquarters in Central Oslo after it was damaged in 2011 from the terrorist attack by Anders Behring Breivik. READ  

Norway's students to get work illness cash boost

Norway's students to get work illness cash boost

Students in Norway with part-time jobs are to be offered for the first time access to student loans to protect their income should they fall ill, announced the government on Monday. READ  

Over 800,000 callers suffer network problems
Norway's top mobile phone networks had technical problems affecting thousands across Norway. Angry woman with mobile: Shutterstock

Over 800,000 callers suffer network problems

Two of Norway's top mobile phone companies - Tele2 and Telenor - suffered severe network problems over the weekend that may have affected up to one million users. READ  

Cops swipe smugglers of Norwegian nappies
The nappies in the picture are not the nappies in the story. Nappy photo: Shutterstock

Cops swipe smugglers of Norwegian nappies

Police in northern Sweden have arrested two individuals with a haul of over 25,000 Norwegian nappies, which they believe were destined for the black market in eastern Europe. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Seaman Oliver Gee with his first lobster
Lifestyle
How to catch the first lobster of the year
International
Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
National
Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
Society
Norway's Princess of the Paranormal under fire
National
Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km
National
Photo: Baby cliff edge shocker in Norway
Travel
Cruise line offers Northern Lights promise
National
10-tonne shark found dead off Norway coast
Culture
Britney to visit Norway for lingerie launch
International
'If Snowden wins Nobel Prize, arrest him!': MP
Culture
VIDEO: Swim ace does 'Pool Rubik's Challenge'
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Society
Norwegian brewery pulls 'fart-smelling' beer
Sport
Ødegaard: Norway's youngest player ever
Features
Meet Norway's raining kings of fashion
National
Miracle cat survives 20 gunshots in Norway
National
Second death within hours at Chess Olympics
National
Norway and Sweden mark 200 years of peace
Culture
Interview: Helene Meldahl, selfie artist
Society
Now serving ... Norway's smallest bar
Travel
Floating Northern Lights hotel planned in Norway
National
Circus camel escapes again
National
Swiss bus driver charged with careless driving in fatal Norway crash
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

309
jobs available