ARTS & CULTURE

The Scream Auction: Edvard Munch's Painting Sells For $119.9 Million, Sets A World Record (LIVEBLOG)

05/02/2012 06:32 pm ET | Updated May 03, 2012

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."

05/02/2012 8:02 PM EDT

Clearly Sotheby's Doesn't Know About "The Oscars"

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.

05/02/2012 8:00 PM EDT

Sold For $119,922,500

"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.

2012-05-02-cezannecardplayers.jpg

05/02/2012 7:57 PM EDT

Just Passed The Record...

Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust," which sold for $106.5 million at auction

2012-05-02-nudegreenleavesandbust.jpg>

05/02/2012 7:54 PM EDT

100 Million Dollars

It's anyone's guess now...

05/02/2012 7:54 PM EDT

"At $99 million, I have all the time in the world," the auctioneer quips.

05/02/2012 7:52 PM EDT

The Krakatoa Twilights

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.”

05/02/2012 7:51 PM EDT

Approaching $100 mil folks...

05/02/2012 7:49 PM EDT

Passing $80 million!

05/02/2012 7:49 PM EDT

A Blonde Woman And A Beautiful Sunset

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."

05/02/2012 7:48 PM EDT

We're inching up to $80 mil, one of the estimated prices. $77 mil and counting...


Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that this particular version of "The Scream" was a painting; it is in fact pastel on cardboard. We regret the error.

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