The Scream MoMa Exhibits Worlds Most Expensive Artwork

Edvard Munch The Scream

Edvard Munch’s The Scream is set to go on view for six months in a leading New York Museum. The seminal work from 1895, which was sold earlier this year for a record $120 million to the Apollo Global Management founder Leon Black is to go on view at The Museum of Modern Art, starting on October 24. There are four versions of The subject created by Munch between 1893 and 1910. This pastel on board dating from 1895 is the only remaining example in private hands. The three other versions are in the collections of museums in Norway.

The Scream has garnered worldwide attention for its stark portrayal of the human condition,” said Glenn D. Lowry, Director of The Museum of Modern Art. “For the Museum’s visitors, this will be a rare opportunity to see this extraordinary work of art.” “The startling power of Munch’s original work endures almost despite the image’s present-day ubiquity,” noted Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, who is organizing the installation. “The visual subtlety and complexity of this composition can’t be summed up in a cliché.” A haunting rendition of a hairless figure on a bridge under a yellow-orange sky, The Scream has captured the popular imagination since the time of its making. The image was originally conceived by Munch as part of the epic Frieze of Life series, which explored the progression of modern life by focusing on the themes of love, angst, and death. Especially concerned with the expressive representation of emotions and personal relationships, Munch was associated with the international development of Symbolism during the 1890s and recognised as a precursor of twentieth-century Expressionism. The Scream will be installed in the Museum’s galleries for painting and sculpture along with a selection of prints by Munch drawn from the Museum’s extensive collection of his work.

Black purchased the painting at Sotheby’s last May to add to his collection of Turners, van Goghs, Picassos and a $47.6 million Raphael chalk drawing, “Head of a Muse,” a record auction price for a work on paper by the artist. Simon Shaw, of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art in New York, said the work was one of the most important to ever emerge from private hands on to the open market.

Black is on the boards of both the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museums. Whether it will eventually be donated to one of the New York institutions remains to be seen. The version of The Scream he now owns was sold by the Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend and patron of the artist. It is regarded as an iconic example of the artists prolific output. It is the only version of the work with a frame hand-painted by Munch which includes a poem explaining the work’s inspiration. The artist described himself “shivering with anxiety” and feeling “the great scream in nature”. This is the only version of the subject not in an Oslo museum.