A pastel version of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" has been sold for US$119.9mn at Sothebys in New York, becoming the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. The painting's final price far exceeded pre-sales estimates of ~US$80mn, according to reports.
Bidding started at ~US$50mn for the 1895 art work, one of four versions by the Scandinavian painter being sold by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen. The bidding went on for over 15 minutes until an unnamed bidder offered US$119,922,500, including commission, by telephone.
The previous record for the most expensive work of art sold at auction had been held by Picassos 'Nude, green leaves and bust,' which went for US$106.50mn at Christies two years ago. The previous record for a Munch work of art was just over US$38mn.
The version of "The Scream" that went on the block on Wednesday was one of four - two pastels and two paintings - executed between 1893 and 1910, Sotheby's said. It is second only to the 'Mona Lisa' painting in global fame.
It is 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.