The Scream Mania – Cliche with a £50m price tag

Posted filed underAuctions, News.


The hysteria around the sale of Edvard Munch’s masterpiece is almost as powerful as the picture itself.

Zoe Williams writes in The Guardian: “A woman of maybe 75 enters the lobby of Sotheby’s and says, with some flourish, “I want to see the Scream. Munch’s The Scream!” She looks as though she’s expecting someone to stop her. But there is just a flight of stairs and 26 security guards between her and this work of art. Nothing will stop her.

There are four copies, two painting and two pastels, and that is not counting the trillions of posters on students’ walls, yawning back decades, touching every adolescence in living memory and beyond, which has ever been touched by the thought, “see that picture? That’s me, that is”.

One painting and one pastel are in the Munch museum in Oslo, and one painting is in Norway’s National Gallery, in the same city.

Having had two of them stolen, blessedly recovered, in 1994 and 2004, Norway will never lend them. They’d never get the insurance. But there is also this fourth version, painted third chronologically, which will be sold in New York on 2 May. It is on show in New Bond Street now. This might be the last time in your life that you could see it (unless you go to Norway).

“I’ve been coming here for donkey’s years,” said a woman who wished to remain anonymous, “and I’ve never been through two security gates. I mean, that Matisse is worth £30m – the reserve price is below it, as you know – and there’s no security round that.” She leans in: “I think there’s an element of marketing. Which is a little bit silly, because we all know who’s going to buy it anyway.” (I can’t tell you who – partly because Sotheby’s say this is nonsense, it will go to auction in a proper way. And partly because I don’t know.)”

Read on at The Guardian.

More at Google News

Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images