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EDVARD MUNCH

US billionaire Black is ‘Scream’ buyer: report

US investment billionaire Leon Black is the mystery buyer who paid a record-breaking $119.9 million for Edvard Munch's "The Scream" at an auction in May, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The painting, one of the most recognizable in history and the only privately-held version of Munch's famous scene, was sold at Sotheby's in New York in a dramatic 12-minute sale — but the buyer remained anonymous.

The Wall Street Journal said it learned from "several people close" to Black that the well-known art collector had bought the painting. The $119.9 million price tag was the highest ever for a work of art at a public auction.

Black's spokesman refused to confirm or deny the report Wednesday, telling AFP: "We are not commenting on the story in the Wall Street Journal."

Leon Black, a 60-year-old New Yorker, is the founder and senior partner of Apollo Global Management, an investment fund. He is estimated to be worth $3.4 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

The 1895 work is one of four versions Munch painted. Its nightmarish central figure and lurid, swirling colors symbolized the existential angst and despair of the modern age.

Another version of "The Scream' belongs to the National Gallery of Munch's native Norway, while the remaining two belong to the Munch Museum in Oslo.

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MUSEUM

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.

READ ALSO: Norway's Arctic 'doomsday vault' stocks up on 60,000 more food seeds

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