So it seems Sotheby’s has a true art icon up for grabs! On May 2, the New York City auction house will be auctioning Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch’s iconic “The Scream” which is being estimated to fetch at least $80 million!
The artist made four versions of the painting that feature a screaming figure standing on a long bridge. The painting is characterized by frightening, almost vicious, swirls of colour that seem to represent the artists’ anxiety and emotion. The version up for grabs is from the private collection of Norwegian businessman, Petter Olsen, a friend and patron of the troubled artist.
“The Scream” was painted as part of the artists’ series The Frieze of Life that delved into an odyssey of love, death, fear, anxiety, and melancholia.
Growing up in rural Norway with a strict religious father, Munch describes his childhood as the seeds for his adult turmoil- “”My father was temperamentally nervous and obsessively religious—to the point of psychoneurosis. From him I inherited the seeds of madness. The angels of fear, sorrow, and death stood by my side since the day I was born.”
In art school, the talented youth would face further criticsm for his unusual style. One critic noted Munch’s work as “impressionism carried to the extreme. It is a travesty of art.” (Holy, RUUUDDDE?!)
That’s just how the story seems to go for some of the most talented minds. Now, we can understand the ferociousness of Munch’s brushtrokes, and appreciate the vibrating core of each of his subjects. Perhaps, we’re all just a little more frustrated and mad ourselves that we can more and more connect with Munch’s pains of productivity and social anxiety.
Social Anxiety: Time Magazine Cover, March 1961.
The life of Edvard Munch is some of the most fascinating subject matter you might ever come across. Happily, I had the opportunity to see “The Scream” in person, and even at that young age, the fire within the artist burned deep in my own soul, and I have always admired the tortured artist since. Munch’s work is admirable for the rawness he brings to his work, a true channelling of emotions, and the simple yet frightening visions he was able to conjure.
“The Hands” by Edvard Munch (1893).
Some lucky millionaire out there is going to own a true art idol and Peter Olsen, the current own of the painter, plans to open a new museum/art centre/hotel at his farm in Norway.
Best of luck, and stay sane!
-The Eye x