Munch ‘Scream’ Could Surpass $80 M. at Sotheby’s in May

Sotheby’s announced today that it will offer an 1895 version of Edvard Munch’s iconic work The Scream at its Impressionist and modern art sale in New York in May. Though the house did not release an estimate, its head of Impressionist and modern art, Simon Shaw, said in a statement, “The recent success of masterpieces at Sotheby’s suggests that the price could exceed $80 million.”

According to the Artnet price database, the record for a work by Munch at auction is $38.2 million, realized in Nov. 2008 at Sotheby’s New York, for an 1894 painting called Vampire, which shows a man leaning into the torso of a woman, an image that the artist returned to throughout his career.

Four original versions of The Scream are known to exist, according to Sotheby’s, though the piece being offered for sale is the only one not owned by a Norwegian museum. Its consignor is Peter Olsen, a member of a prominent shipping family that has owned the work for some 70 years. The work has been shown publicly only once in the U.S., decades ago, but will be on view in New York in April, in the days leading up to the sale.

“I have lived with this work all my life, and its power and energy have only increased with time,” Mr. Olsen said in a statement. “Now however, I feel the moment has come to offer the rest of the world a chance to own and appreciate this remarkable work.”