Huffpost Arts

'The Scream' Mystery Buyer Identified As American Billionaire Leon Black (PHOTOS)

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The mystery buyer behind the record-breaking sale of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" has been identified as billionaire Leon Black. The Wall Street Journal confirmed on Wednesday that Black, a New York-based businessman and long-time art collector, was behind the $120 million buy that made Munch's work the most expensive piece of art ever sold at auction. However, in a phone call this morning, a Sotheby's representative told The Huffington Post that they still have no comment on the identity of the buyer.

Auction houses do not require winning bidders to publicly disclose their identities, so the art world had been anxiously awaiting the owner to reveal himself ever since the 12-minute sale at Sotheby's in May. Black, who is the lead partner of the investment firm Apollo Global Management, has not yet been reached for comment. But the WSJ cited a number of sources close to the collector who claim that the American mogul, whose net worth is $3.4 billion, is the one.

the sscream

"The Scream" was not the billionaire's first purchase to set records, however. Three years ago, he nabbed a Raphael chalk drawing that amounted to the most expensive work on paper at that time. Before that, he bought a record-breaking $38 million Ernst Ludwig Kirchner work with collector and Estée Lauder heir Ronald Lauder. Black's extensive art collection reportedly totals $750 million worth of works by other notable artists such as Vincent van Gogh, J.M.W. Turner and Pablo Picasso.

Black sits on the boards of two of New York's biggest havens of art -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, neither of which own any version of the "Scream" besides lithograph-prints. But Black has not publicly displayed much of his collection of art in the past, choosing instead to keep many of his acquired treasures private.

While we mull over Black's next moves, take a look at the costliest works of art ever sold in the slideshow below. The prices have been adjusted for inflation, so you can accurately marvel at the amazing auction sales.

The Most Expensive Art Ever Sold At An Auction In 2012 Dollars
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