Edvard Munch's iconic work, "The Scream," broke a world record tonight, becoming the most expensive artwork sold in an auction.
Estimates for the sale varied from $80 million to $200 million. The artwork -- which is not a painting but is pastel on board -- ended up selling for $119,922,500, surpassing the previous record-holder, Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust," which sold for $106.5 million in 2010. Cezanne's "The Card Players" has the honor of going for the highest price, period (meaning not at auction) -- it was sold in a private sale to Qatar (yes, the country) for $250 million last year.
Check out our liveblog below of the highs and, well, higher highs, of the Sotheby's auction. Learn about the oft-stolen other versions of "The Scream" that Munch painted, as well as the exalted company of record-breakers he now keeps. And because nothing sets the mood for an ex post facto liveblog quite like blood and tongues, do read the text below of Munch's inscription, which appears on tonight's history-making work:
"I was walking along a path with two friends - the sun was setting - suddenly the sky turned blood red - I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence - there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city.
My friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety - and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature."
Save the best (actor/actress) for last! Now they're onto a totally respectable Renoir lot, and for sure, people are slinking out the back.
"The world record for any work of art sold at auction."
However! Stranger things happen behind closed doors. The most expensive work of art ever sold ever, is Cezanne's "The Card Players," which went in a private sale to the country of Qatar for $250 million. Gaze at that baby below.
Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust," which sold for $106.5 million at auction
It's anyone's guess now...
Some art historians speculate the "blood red" sky Munch said inspired "The Scream" resulted from the eruption on the volcanic island of Krakatoa, an atmospheric effect called “the Krakatoa twilights.”
Petter Olsen on growing up with "The Scream" in "a corner of the house": "When I was a child I thought this person was a woman with long blonde hair with a beautiful sunset behind her. In some other of his paintings I saw the hidden trolls."
"The Scream" is up! Bidding started at $40 mil.
The version causing such a stir tonight is arguably the least valuable "Scream" of the bunch, as it's mounted onto a board rather than inside a grand frame (witness the NYTimes correction stating the point). It comes from the collection of Norwegian shipping heir Petter Olsen, whose dad Thomas was a neighbor and patron to Munch, according to the NYT.
And Francis Picabia's "Bal Negre" sold for $1.5 million.
According to Monica Bohm-Duchen’s book "The Private Life Of A Masterpiece," the "Scream" thieves manning the 2004 heist “ran straight into a plate-glass sliding door,” while trying to enter the museum, before steadying themselves, waiting for the door to open and trying again. (They also went the wrong way once inside.)
The prices are all over the place --
Picasso's "Femme Assise Dans un Fauteuil" sold for a whopping $26 million.
Fernand Leger's "La Femme Au Miroir" sold for $3,600,000.
George Rouault's "Arlequin" sold for a meager $480,000.
Munch created four versions of "The Scream," the most colorful of which is up for auction tonight. Among the rest, two were stolen over the course of a decade, one out of the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994, and another from the Munch Museum in 2004.
The Matisse that just sold for $2,500,000 looks like a clean coloring book page, in the most brilliant possible way.
Toulouse-Latrec lot sold for $520,000, pocket change next to "The Scream"! We're on to Matisse...
|@ hannahtpsky : This is the auction room where #TheScream is about to go on sale. Outside investors sip champagne and wear black. http://t.co/w1eGSffl|
HuffPost TV editor Alex Moaba got a peek at "The Scream" earlier this week, and we have it on his word that the colors are neon-like, "psychedelic" you might say (he does)!