• 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.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Security fears disrupt Norway soccer cup
Prime Minister Erna Solberg visits Norway Cup on Ekebergsletta in Oslo on Sunday. Here she is together with players from the football teams Mosjøen (Norway) and Kauma SC from Malawi. Photo: Audun Braa

Security fears disrupt Norway soccer cup

The world's biggest soccer tournament opened in Norway on Sunday, amid fears the terror threat may mar the sporting spectacle. READ  

US or Israel 'behind terror': Islamic leader
Ubaydullah Maroof Hussain. Photo: Thomas Winje Øijord / NTB scanpix

US or Israel 'behind terror': Islamic leader

Muslims in Syria do not understand why Norway is under a terror alert and it is likely propaganda to distract from the troubles in Gaza, says an Islamic spokesperson living in Oslo. READ  

Police know group behind terror threats
Armed police patrolling Oslo Central Train Station on Friday. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Police know group behind terror threats

Police in Norway have confirmed on Sunday they know who are behind the terror threats which have disrupted the country, but not where the group is hiding. READ  

Rape and violence mar Norwegian music festival

Rape and violence mar Norwegian music festival

Police charged one person for rape and are investigating four other sex attacks at a top music festival in Norway over the weekend. READ  

Terror threat forces Bergen airspace closure
Tourists in central Bergen pictured in May 2014. Photo: The Local

Terror threat forces Bergen airspace closure

Norway closed part of the airspace over its second city Bergen and tightened border checks on Saturday, police said, two days after the country upped security following a terror alert. READ  

Jewish museums close after terror alert
The synagogue in Oslo. Photo: Det Mosaike Trossamfund

Jewish museums close after terror alert

Jewish museums in Norway remain closed to the public on Saturday as Norway steps up security following the announcement of a possible imminent terrorist attack by jihadists coming from Syria. READ  

Terror attack feared 'next Monday': TV2
Norwegian PM Erna Solberg and her government fear imminent terror attack. Photo: Vegard Grøtt / NTB scanpix

Terror attack feared 'next Monday': TV2

Terrorists are planning to launch an attack on Norway on Monday of next week, government sources are reported to have said on Friday. READ  

Statoil tightens security amid terror threat
Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Statoil tightens security amid terror threat

Statoil, Norway's biggest energy company, has 'increased' security after this week's terror warning announcement, said the firm's CEO on Friday. READ  

Terrorists leave Syria for Norway: PST
Testing times: Benedicte Bjørnlandope, chief of PST, is helping Norway remain secure under latest terror threat. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Terrorists leave Syria for Norway: PST

A terror group has left Syria and is heading for Norway as their next target, says Norwegian security intelligence group PST on Friday. READ  

Day 2: Norway terror warnings
Top government officials in Oslo react to the terror alert. Photo: Berit Roald / NTB Scanpix

Day 2: Norway terror warnings

UPDATED: Norway's nuclear facilities and a Jewish Museum in Oslo are the latest security closures amid the imminent terror threat to Norway announced on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
National
Norway lifts Segway ban
Culture
GALLERY: Ten great songs about Norway
Society
Høie promises to reform sex change law
Education
Norway fjord invaded by monster jellyfish
Culture
VIDEO: Norwegian anti-Facebook film goes viral
Culture
Norway pop duo hits number 4 on US charts
Sport
Norway fan wins big on Suarez bite bet
National
Solberg 'most chatty' leader on Twitter
Culture
British Airways takes 'Slow TV' to the skies
International
Top Norway lawyers back Snowden Nobel
Society
Buy your own Viking warship for just €160,000
Politics
Norway PM beats Candy Crush level 300
Culture
Norway sticks with fårikål as national dish
International
Cold bathing craze leads to teen death
Society
Sweden threatens to 'annex' the ostehøvel
National
Baby squirrels survive cat attack
Society
Norway's 'cushy' prisons spurring foreign cons
National
Half Norwegians overweight: Gates study
International
VIDEO: Jagland doing press-ups in Donetsk
Business & Money
Striking Norway barbers: 'Let your hair grow'
Culture
Rihanna 'hard to please', Norway's Stargate reveal
International
What do Norwegians really think of Swedes?
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

357
jobs available