Edvard Munch's TheScream
London's culture and arts scene was abuzz with excitement this week as an iconic masterpiece will be on show for all of the capital’s culture junkies to view and admire. The privately owned version of Edvard Munch’s
masterpiece “The Scream” will be on show in London at the famous art auctioning house Sothebys ahead of its highly anticipated sale in New York in May.
The iconic and celebrated work is one of the most instantly recognisable and loved images in both art history and popular culture, perhaps second only to the Mona Lisa,” a Sotheby’s spokesman said.
The specific painting which will be shown in London and then auctioned off on May 2 was created in 1895 in pastel on board. It is the only painting of the 4 which is still in private hands, as it was part of a collection left by shipping dynasty scion Thomas Olsen, a friend and supporter of Munch’s, Sotheby’s said.
The other pieces are owned by the Munch Museum in Oslo and the National Gallery of Norway.
Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby’s Modern Art and Impressionism Department, said the work’s value could exceed $80 million, given its rarity and what other masterpieces have brought in recent auctions. Munch died in his native Norway in January 1944 at the age of 80.
If the masterpiece lives up to its pre sale estimated it will be one of the most expensive art works to be sold at auction, alongside heavyweights such as Picasso's Nude, Green Leaves and Bust, which holds the current record after it sold for 106 million US dollars (£66.4 million) at Christie's in New York in May 2010.
The specific Scream which will tour London and be sold off in New York was created in 1885 and is the only version with a frame hand-painted by Munch which includes a poem explaining his inspiration for the piece.
The Norwegian artist Munch created four versions of “The Scream” between 1893 and 1944, each showing a figure holding its head and mouth ajar in a moment of existential anguish set against a vividly colored landscape.
It is also the only version in which one of the two figures in the background turns to look outward onto the cityscape. Owner Petter Olsen said: ''I have lived with this work all my life, and its power and energy have only increased with time. Now, however, I feel the moment has come to offer the rest of the world a chance to own and appreciate this remarkable work, which is the only version of The Scream not in the collection of a Norwegian museum. My father Thomas Olsen was a friend of Munch, and acquired The Scream as well as many other works by the artist. He hoped that his collection would further Munch's international renown by lending to exhibitions abroad.''
Mr Olsen also mentioned that the proceeds from the sale would go toward the founding and establishment of a new museum, art centre and hotel on his farm Ramme Gaard at Hvitstenm where his personal family's relationship with the artist began.
The museum will open in 2013, the 150-year anniversary of the artist's birth. The Scream painting is the defining image of the Expressionist movement and has in turn been the subject and target of several high-profile art thefts. One incident occurred in 2004 when masked gunmen stole a 1910 version of TheScream as well as Munch’s Madonna from the Munch Museum. However both works were recovered two years later and were back on exhibition in 2008.