Lifestyle & Belief

'The Scream' by Edvard Munch to be auctioned in New York


Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' has become an iconic image, as depicted here in graffiti on the side of the artist's home. When one of the originals is auctioned in May, 2012 it could demand among the highest prices ever for a painting.


Chris Jackson

Edvard Munch's iconic painting The Scream will be sold at auction in May, Sotheby's New York has announced.

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.

More from GlobalPost: Who really owns that Klimt?

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."

Norwegian authorities have approved the sale, the director of the National Museum in Oslo, Audun Eckhoff, told the Associated Press, since the other versions will remain in Norway.

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. 

More from GlobalPost: Lost Leonardo da Vinci drawing found, art historian claims