The auctioneers expect the masterpiece to fetch more than $80 million, which according to the Guardian, would make it one of the most expensive artworks ever sold.
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Four versions of the composition exist, three of which belong to museums in Norway. The version to be sold is currently owned by a Norwegian businessman, Petter Olsen, whose father knew the artist personally and built up a large collection of his works.
According to Sotheby's, the Olsen Scream is unique in several ways: "it is the most colorful and vibrant of the four; the only version whose original frame was hand-painted by the artist to include his poem detailing the work's inspiration; and the only version in which one of the two figures in the background turns to look outward onto the cityscape."
The artist painted a seven-line inscription on the picture's frame, which concludes: "I felt the great Scream in nature."
The painting will be exhibited in London and New York before the sale, in New York, on May 2. It has only once before been on public view in either country, several years ago at the National Gallery in Washington DC.
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