• 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

A version of "The Scream", one of the world's most famous paintings and an iconic image of despair, will go on sale this May in New York, where it is expected to fetch at least $80 million, Sotheby's auctioneers said on Tuesday.

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
'Dalai Lama meet would make China clash eternal'
Parliament president Olemic Thommessen and Nina Elisabeth Høstmælingen Thommessen arrive at the Nobel Banquet at the Grand Hotel in December. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell/NTB Scanpix

'Dalai Lama meet would make China clash eternal'

The president of the Norwegian parliament has defended his decision not to meet the Dalai Lama when he comes to Oslo next month, arguing that to do so would destroy years of painstaking work to mend relations with China. READ () »

Labour councillor faces sack for gay church view
Ed Dawes. Photo: Facebook

Labour councillor faces sack for gay church view

A councillor from Norway's Labour Party risks being expelled after he argued on Saturday night that gay people who want to get married in church should start their own splinter sect. READ () »

Syria genebank sends seeds to Svalbard
The seeds are delivered the the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on Wednesday. Photo: Global Crop Diversity Trust

Syria genebank sends seeds to Svalbard

More than 80 percent of the valuable crop seeds kept in a gene bank in the Syrian city of Aleppo have been shipped to the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard for safekeeping, the bank's director general revealed on Tuesday. READ () »

Norway MPs slammed for Dalai Lama 'cowardice'
The Dalai Lama visiting Oslo in 2005. Photo: Håkon Mosvsvold Larsen/Scanpix

Norway MPs slammed for Dalai Lama 'cowardice'

Norway's parliament has been accused of cowardice after it declined to offer an official meeting to the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, when he visits Norway next month. READ () »

VIDEO
VIDEO: Norway's incredible rolling robot
Kåre Halvorsen chases the MorpHex rolling robot. Photo: Screen Grab YouTube.

VIDEO: Norway's incredible rolling robot

This rolling spider-like robot is the stuff of sci-fi nightmare, so there's something strangely cute about watching the three-year-old son of its creator chase it around a basketball court. READ () »

Putin praises new Nato chief Stoltenberg
Then Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg meets Vladimir Putin at his official residence in Moscow in 2009. Photo: Terje Bendiksby / Scanpix POOL

Putin praises new Nato chief Stoltenberg

Russian president Vladimir Putin has praised Jens Stoltenberg, the incoming head of Nato, as "a very serious, responsible person", claiming the two have "very good relations, including personal relations". READ () »

South Sudan massacre 'must be investigated'
Børge Brende - Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/NTB Scanpix

South Sudan massacre 'must be investigated'

Norway has called for an investigation into the massacre of some 200 civilians in the disputed South Sudanese town of Bentiu, declaring that "the guilty must be punished". READ () »

Norway teen has lived in cave for a year
da Beate Løken in her cave. Photo: Screen Grab Romerikes Blad TV

Norway teen has lived in cave for a year

A 19-year-old girl from the most fjord-filled region of Western Norway has been living a cave for almost a year with little but a high-grade sleeping bag to get her through the gruelling Norwegian winter. READ () »

Plumber stabbed workmate after gay jibe
Court psychiatrist Terje Tørrissen ruled the plumber was not psychotic. Photo: Håkon Mosvsvold Larsen / Scanpix NTB

Plumber stabbed workmate after gay jibe

A plumber in Norway has been sentenced to compulsory mental care after he drew a knife on his colleague and stabbed him ten times in the head and torso after the man called him a "grumpy little gay". READ () »

Hikers to wear green hats if 'open to romance'
Nils Øverås, secretary general of the Norwegian Trekking Association and Hanna Melhus, head of the organization's youth wing, posing for the April Fools message. Photo: Norwegian Trekking Association

Hikers to wear green hats if 'open to romance'

An April Fools' joke in which the Norwegian Trekking Association declared that all single people hiking over the Easter break should wear a green hat if they're open to romance triggered such a huge reaction that the association has decided to institute it for real. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Tech
VIDEO: Norway's incredible rolling robot
National
Norway teen has lived in cave for a year
National
Hikers to wear green hats if 'open to romance'
National
Norway PM backs gay church weddings
National
Badger gets stuck in car grille and survives
National
Man at recycling plant finds $16,000 in old safe
Culture
Norway celebs plan own funerals in new show
National
Norway man finds adult toy in cod's stomach
International
McCain to vote down would-be envoy
Education
Oslo to get first Muslim primary school
Culture
VIDEO: Norway fans in second Sherlock skit
Culture
Clooney to film North Sea divers movie
Advertisement:
Society
VIDEO: Norway police's chilled way with drunk wows US
Education
VIDEO: Norway skydiver dodges meteorite
National
Oslo shortlisted for Green Capital 2016
International
Work to start on world's tallest wooden house
Culture
NRK boss: Slow TV 'difficult to joke with'
International
Stoltenberg named as next Nato boss
Society
'Silly walk' sign enrages roads agency
Norwegian tattoos McDonald's bill on arm
Sport
Norwegian man 'forgets' luxury boat for two years
Society
VIDEO: Oslo transformed into miniature city
International
GALLERY: Nato troops' Arctic 'selfies'
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 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

331
jobs available