NEW YORK (AP) — One of the art world’s most recognizable images — Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” — could sell for $80 million or more when it is auctioned at Sotheby’s on Wednesday.
The 1895 pastel of a man holding his head and screaming under a streaked, blood-red sky has become a modern symbol for human anxiety, popularized in movies and plastered on everything from mugs to Halloween masks.
It is one of four versions created by the Norwegian expressionist painter. Three are in Norwegian museums; the one at Sotheby’s is the only one left in private hands. It is being sold by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend and patron of the artist.
A price tag of $80 million would be among the highest for an artwork at auction. The record is $106.5 million for Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust,” sold in 2010 by Christie’s in New York.
Sotheby’s said its pastel-on-board version of “The Scream” is the most colorful and vibrant of the four and the only version whose frame was hand-painted by the artist to include his poem, detailing the work’s inspiration.