This is the highest amount of money ever paid for a work of art at auction. According to The Atlanta Journal Constitution, one of four versions of Edvard Munch’s famous pastel “The Scream” went for $119,922,500 yesterday at Sotheby’s. (What’s with the last $22,500?). The paper adds:
Besides “The Scream” and Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust” [JAC: that one went for $106,500,000 two years ago], only two other works have sold for more than $100 million at auction. Those are Picasso’s “Boy With a Pipe (The Young Apprentice)” for $104.1 million in 2004 and Alberto Giacometti’s “Walking Man I” for $104.3 million in 2010.
It was sold by a Norwegian businessman to an anonymous telephone bidder. Imagine what a Leonardo or a Rembrandt would go for these days if it ever reached auction!
Here, according to Wikipedia, is what Munch said about the genesis of this painting:
Munch wrote of how the painting came to be: “I was walking down the road with two friends when the sun set; suddenly, the sky turned as red as blood. I stopped and leaned against the fence, feeling unspeakably tired. Tongues of fire and blood stretched over the bluish black fjord. My friends went on walking, while I lagged behind, shivering with fear. Then I heard the enormous, infinite scream of nature.” He later described the personal anguish behind the painting, “for several years I was almost mad… You know my picture, ‘The Scream?’ I was stretched to the limit—nature was screaming in my blood… After that I gave up hope ever of being able to love again.”
And the runner-up, Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust”:
But these aren’t the most expensive paintings ever sold. That honor goes to this one, whose artist you’ll recognize instantly:
It’s Cezanne’s “The Card Players,” which, according to Vanity Fair, was purchased by the nation of Qatar last year for more than—wait for it—$250 million. That’s a quarter of a billion dollars, and over twice the price of “The Scream.”