‘Scream’ to make noise at New York art auction

The only privately owned version of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" is estimated to sell for at least $80 million at Sotheby's next week as the star of the New York spring art auctions.

'Scream' to make noise at New York art auction

Picasso's portrait of Dora Maar, estimated to sell for $20 million to $30 million at Sotheby's on Wednesday, and Cezanne's "Joueurs de Cartes," estimated to fetch $15 million to $20 million at Christie's on Tuesday, are other highlights of the Impressionist and modern sales.

"The Scream" is one of four versions of a work that symbolized with its nightmarish central figure and lurid colors the existential angst and despair of the modern age.

Simon Shaw, head of the Impressionist and modern department at Sotheby's, said it was "very hard to estimate" the value of the work being sold by Norwegian Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend and supporter of the artist.

Some believe bidding could go beyond $80 million, taking the work into the company of just eight other paintings in that price range.

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 one of the few known equally to art experts and the general public alike.

The following week will see post-war and contemporary sales. Among the highlights will be Mark Rothko's 1961 painting "Orange, Red, Yellow" at Christie's on May 8th, with an estimate of $35 million to $45 million.

A Jackson Pollock work, "No. 28," also from the collection of philanthropist David Pincus, is estimated to sell for $20 million to $30 million. Christie's says "there has not been a Jackson Pollock of this quality or scale at auction since 1997."

On May 9th, Sotheby's will offer a strong focus on Pop Art, with Roy Lichtenstein's "Sleeping Girl" from 1964 estimated at $30 million to $40 million, and Andy Warhol's "Double Elvis" estimated at $30 million to $50 million.

The headliner, though, could be Francis Bacon's "Figure Writing Reflected in Mirror" from 1976.

Sotheby's said the painting, estimated at $30 million to $40 million, is "one of the artist's most important paintings ever to come to auction, and is a summation of his simultaneously painterly and intellectual genius."

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Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive

Norway’s National Museum has preserved some of the country’s most treasured artefacts digitally and stored them in a former mine on Arctic archipelago Svalbard.

Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive
Photo: Bartek Luks on Unsplash

The Arctic World Archive was originally constructed in 2017 to “protect the world’s most important cultural relics”, the National Museum said on its website.

The data preservation facility is located on the island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago, not far from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The National Museum has now placed its entire collection of around 400,000 items as digital copies on plastic film rolls, which are to be stored at the Longyearbyen site.

“The dry, cold and low-oxygen air gives optimal conditions for storing digital archives and the film rolls will have a lifetime of around 1,000 years in the archive,” the museum writes. Emissions emitted by the archive are low due to its low energy consumption.

Offline storage of the archives also insures them against cyber attacks, the museum said.

In addition to all data from the National Museum collection database, high-resolution digital images of works by selected artists are included in the archive.

Works to be stored include ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’ by Harald Sohlberg, the Baldishol Tapestry and Queen Maud’s ball dress.

“At the National Museum we have works from antiquity until today. We work with the same perspective on the future. The collection is not only ours, but also belongs to the generations after us,” National Museum director Karin Hindsbo said via the museum’s website.

“By storing a copy of the entire collection in the Arctic World Archive, we are making sure the art will be safe for many centuries,” Hindsbo added.

In addition to the Norwegian artefacts, organisations from 15 other countries are represented in the archive, including national museums in Mexico, Brazil and India; the Vatican library, Sweden’s Moderna Museet and Unicef.

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