NEW YORK (May 8, 2012)  — 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…

The auctioned piece at Sotheby’s is the only one left in private hands. The buyer’s name was not released…

POP CULTURE (con’t.)

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.

AND TODAY, the mysterious buyer is revealed and a new plot twist emerges. I cannot wait to read Felix Salmon’s blog poston it!

The Scream, Edvard Munch (1893) National Gallery, Oslo

VIA Wall Street Journal — New York financier Leon Black paid Sotheby’s nearly $120 million for “The Scream,” Edvard Munch’s 1895 pastel of a terrified man holding his head, according to several people close to the collector.

The identity of the buyer—who set a record for a work of art sold at auction—had been one of the art world’s most closely guarded secrets since the dramatic, 12-minute sale in May. Now a new parlor game will begin: guessing where the iconic artwork ends up. 

Mr. Black sits on the boards of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, setting up a potential tug of war between two of the country’s most powerful art institutions. Neither owns a “Scream,” aside from lithograph-print versions of it.

Few artworks have the world-wide celebrity of “The Scream,” and it would immediately become a merchandising bonanza and huge attendance draw for any museum that displayed it.

It is easy to understand the work’s appeal: Munch, who was Norwegian, created four versions of “The Scream,” all between 1893 and 1910, but Mr. Black’s is the only one not in an Oslo museum and the first to come up at auction.

The work depicts a bald, skeletal figure in a blue shirt standing at a popular suicide spot on Oslo’s horseshoe-shaped bay where people could often hear screams from a nearby insane asylum, according to art historians. [Interesting factoid]

The rest of the article from WSJ is here.

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NOTE: Stay tuned!

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