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Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ Sells For $120 Million at Auction

The Scream
Sotherby's

The distinctive shapes and colors of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ grab you instantly. You don’t need to know anything about art to realize that this is one special painting. Perhaps that’s why the legendary work sold at Sotheby’s in New York City on Wednesday for $119.9 million, making it the most expensive piece of artwork ever sold at auction.

The name of the buyer wasn’t released, but it has been said the winning bid was made over the phone. The previous record for most expensive painting was $106.5 million for Pablo Picasso’s ‘Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust.’

Munch created four version of ‘The Scream’ (or ‘Shrik’ in his native Norwegian) between 1893 and 1910. The other three are in museums. making the one sold Wednesday the only version in private hands.

In 1892, Munch wrote in his diary about the inspiration for what became his most famous work:

I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

We’re pretty sure there will be another infinite scream if the mystery buyer’s $120 million purchase is ever lost, stolen or damaged. Check out the entire painting below.

The Scream

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