Famous painting sells for record $119.9M

"The Scream" (AP Photo)

"The Scream" (AP Photo)

NEW YORK (CNN) — A pastel version of “The Scream” by Edvard Munch fetched nearly $120 million from an anonymous buyer Wednesday at Sotheby’s in New York, setting a new world record for a work of art sold at auction.

Experts had expected the masterpiece to break new ground at the famed New York auction house; its presale estimate of at least $80 million was the highest ever listed at Sotheby’s.

It sold for $119,922,500, which includes the premium paid to Sotheby’s.

Previously, the most expensive artwork ever sold there was Pablo Picasso’s painting “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust,” which brought in $106.5 million two years ago.

The version of “The Scream” on the block Wednesday was one of four — two pastels and two paintings — executed between 1893 and 1910, Sotheby’s said, and is one of the best-known images in modern art.

It’s also the only version a private collector can get their hands on at public auction. The other three are housed in National Gallery of Norway and at the Munch Museum in the Norwegian capital, according to Sotheby’s.

The pastel is being sold by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father is thought to have been a friend and patron of the famed artist.

Few pieces have crossed the $100 million benchmark at public auction, said Sotheby’s spokesman David Norman.



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