Newsspot – ‘The Scream’ Is Auctioned for a Record $119.9 Million

Morning folks! Today, before I do my photo of the day and post on where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to, I decided I’d do a newsspot on art.

It’s a touchy thing, art is. Some prefer the older, more victorian style paintings, whereas some just can’t stand those sort of things, and prefer to appreciate the more abstract, minimal, and modern art of today. Some believe that art is everywhere. Music, design, architecture, photography, you name it, they’ll think art is there. Now, while not all of us will agree on one style of art, and whether art extends outside of paintings, drawings, and the like, one thing is certain: Art has become an integral part of society today. Countless museums are dedicated to it, millions appreciate it, and it is most likely guaranteed that we will come across at least one piece of artwork per day in our busy lives.

I’ve heard a lot about ‘The Scream’ in my short life, but, not being one for art when I was told about it, things seemed to have slipped my mind. Reading this article, however, has shed some light on the subject in terms of it’s history and origin. Looking at it from afar, and not giving much thought to it, it looks like something anyone could do. You know, just get some crayons, draw something that resembles a beach with a few people (one screaming, of course), and some dark sky, right? That may seem the case, but it’s the raw emotion and feeling behind the painting that gives it it’s value. The life of the artist , and what state they were in when the art was formed, often dictates how the painting is seen and viewed by the public. That, and most of the time what looks simple and easy takes months of work and effort, usually never fully appreciated in the artists lifetime.

It’s amazing how much art enthusiasts and collectors will pay for art which, in it’s truest form, is a display of the artists thoughts and feelings at the time of creation on canvas. I guess all of us have varying degrees of interest in the subject, but I don’t think anyone could truly say that they really don’t care about art in any sense. It’s where the modern design era has come from, and it would be an atrocity to brush it off as something of non-importance.

The Scream’ Is Auctioned for a Record $119.9 Million

Jennifer S. Altman for The New York Times

The work, a pastel on board, is one of four versions created by Edvard Munch; the other three are in museums in Norway. The buyer bid over the telephone.

Published: May 2, 2012

It took 12 nail-biting minutes and five eager bidders for Edvard Munch’s famed 1895 pastel of “The Scream” to sell for $119.9 million, becoming the world’s most expensive work of art ever to sell at auction.

Bidders could be heard speaking Chinese and English (and, some said, Norwegian), but the mystery winner bid over the phone, through Charles Moffett, Sotheby’s executive vice president and vice chairman of its worldwide Impressionist, modern and contemporary art department. Gasps could be heard as the bidding climbed higher and higher, until there was a pause at $99 million, prompting Tobias Meyer, the evening’s auctioneer, to smile and say, “I have all the time in the world.” When $100 million was bid, the audience began to applaud.

The price eclipsed the previous record, made two years ago at Christie’s in New York when Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” brought $106.5 million.

Munch made four versions of “The Scream.” Three are now in Norwegian museums; the one that sold on Wednesday, a pastel on board from 1895, was the only one still in private hands. It was sold by Petter Olsen, a Norwegian businessman and shipping heir whose father was a friend, neighbor and patron of the artist.

The image has been reproduced endlessly in popular culture in recent decades, becoming a universal symbol of angst and existential dread and nearly as famous as the Mona Lisa.

Outside of Sotheby’s, there was excitement of a different kind, as demonstrators protesting the company’s longtime lockout of art handlers waved placards with the image of “The Scream” along with the motto, “Sotheby’s: Bad for Art.” Many in the group — a mix of union members and Occupy Wall Street protesters — even screamed themselves when the Munch went on the block. (Munch’s work was an apt focus for the group, said one protester, Yates McKee: “It exemplifies the ways in which objects of artistic creativity become the exclusive province of the 1 percent.”)

Inside, the atmosphere generated by the Munch’s record price carried through the rest of the auction, which saw high prices for everything from Picasso paintings to sculptures by Giacometti and Brancusi.

Of the 76 lots on offer, 15 failed to sell. The evening’s total was $330.56 million, close to its high estimate of $323 million. (Final prices include the buyer’s commission to Sotheby’s: 25 percent of the first $50,000; 20 percent of the next $50,000 to $1 million and 12 percent of the rest. Estimates do not reflect commissions.)

As is often true of auctions with star attractions, having “The Scream” for sale helped win other business. Its inclusion was a draw, for example, for the estate of Theodore J. Forstmann, the Manhattan financier, who died in November. The top work in his collection was Picasso’s “Femme Assise Dans un Fauteuil,” a 1941 portrait of Dora Maar, the artist’s muse and lover, posed in a chair. The painting went for $26 million, or $29.2 million with fees, within its estimated $20 million to $30 million.

In 2004, Mr. Forstmann bought Soutine’s “Le Chasseur de chez Maxim’s,” a 1925 portrait of an employee at the celebrated French restaurant, for $6.7 million at a Sotheby’s auction. It had belonged to Wendell Cherry, vice chairman of the Louisville-based health care company Humana, who died in 1991, and his wife, Dorothy. On Wednesday night the painting was up for sale again, this time with a $10 million to $15 million estimate, which turned out to be optimistic. Two bidders went for the Soutine, which ended up selling to a telephone bidder, working through Mr. Moffett, for $8.3 million, or $9.3 million with fees.

As always, this is just a small taster of the full thing. To view the complete article in all it’s glory, click no further than this link: NY Times – ‘The Scream’ Is Auctioned for a Record $119.9 Million


One Comment Add yours

  1. Alydia says:

    Omg Alex this is amazing , I never knew u had a blog . You should of told me and the scream is an amazing creation. It can be understood in so many ways 😀


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