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Art and money, big money, are in the headlines. "The Scream" by Edvard Munch sold at auction for $119.9 million earlier this month, setting a record for the most expensive artwork sold at auction. Makes all our work look like we are selling them for mere pocket change.
This outrageous price would be news enough but I uncovered some startling facts about the artwork. I am wondering if the mysterious buyer, via phone, got what he thought he was paying for.
You see there are actually 4 versions of "The Scream." The Munch Museum in Oslo owns a pastel as well as a painted version, while the National Gallery of Norway holds the earliest painting, dated 1893. But the one auctioned at Sotheby's was best described as a crayon or pastel drawing, not a painting at all, on board.
This information was easy to find online, but one wonders if the buyer who bid via phone realized he was buying a sketch in crayon on board. The art market has been all a twitter about this monumental amount with an art expert even denouncing "The Scream" sale as "a freak show." With the ever-increasing wealth of high-end art collectors, the price of art will continue to skyrocket but this sale seems, well, crazy. Who knows where this madness will end.
More interesting information on this subject is available in a recent article in the Los Angeles Times "Art Prices Reflect Income Inequality" and a related study about "Art and Money."
Editor's Note: You can view Sharon's original post here.