Andy Warhol, The Scream (After Munch), 1984

NEW YORK Edvard Munch’s artwork “The Scream” — that modern symbol of human anxiety that is one of the art world’s most recognizable images — sold at auction Wednesday for a record $119,922,500 at Sotheby’s in New York.

Munch’s 1895 image of a man holding his head and screaming under a streaked, blood-red sky is one of four versions by the Norwegian expressionist painter. The auctioned piece at Sotheby’s is the only one left in private hands. The buyer’s name was not released.

“The Scream” has become part of pop culture, “used by everyone from Warhol to Hollywood to cartoons to teacups and T-shirts,” said Michael Frahm of the London-based art advisory service firm Frahm Ltd. 

“Together with the Mona Lisa, it’s the most famous and recognized image in art history.

Mona Lisa by Andy Warhol, 1963.


See?  The Scream and Mona Lisa are together.


Seriously though, I’m sure the buyer wishes to remain anonymous  to avoid Felix Salmon’s scathing criticism. This is what he said about The Scream in his May 3rd blog post:

“Whatever was being bought, here, it wasn’t really art, in any pure sense. It was more the result of a century’s worth of marketing and hype.”

To prove his point,  he trashes Munch’s Vampire because it only sold for $38 million. Not enough pop culture, I guess.

To read more of Felix Salmon’s criticisms, click here.

Vampire, Edvard Munch (1893-4)

Anyway, the news story which begins this post is by two different Associated Press writers. It ran in the Washington Post on May 3rd. It was built around a May 2nd story, “Munch’s ‘The Scream’ may fetch $80 million at NYC auction”. There’s a lot of stuff in it and I plan to build another post off the article.

Right now, though, I just want to say that Attempted Bloggery posted on March 28th:

This uniquely-colored screen print by Andy Warhol [top left] comes to the market shorty after the announcement that one of four original versions of Edward Munch’s The Scream is going to be sold at Sotheby’s New York in May for a price that could well exceed $80,000,000. Given that exceptional estimated price for an acknowledged masterwork, one could come to view the 150,000 – 200,000 GBP estimate on this derivative yet highly expressive Warhol print as a bargain indeed.


NOTE: The actual selling price of Warhol’s The Scream (After Munch) was 313,250 GBP or 498,631 USD.