September 18, 2012 - 15:56 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Edvard Munch’s 1895 version of “The Scream” — which became the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction when it brought nearly $120 million at Sotheby’s in May — will go on view at the Museum of Modern Art, courtesy of its new mystery owner, for six months, starting on Oct 24, The New York Times reported.
Munch made four versions of “The Scream” — an image that has become a universal symbol of angst and existential dread — from 1893 to 1910. Three are in Norwegian museums and have not traveled for years. This one, a pastel on board, is the only “Scream” still in private hands and the only one in the United States; it has never before been shown publicly in New York, officials at MoMA say.
The New York financier Leon Black is said to have been the buyer of the pastel at Sotheby’s, but nobody — including Mr. Black himself, officials at Sotheby’s or Mr. Lowry — would confirm that he was the one lending the painting to MoMA.
Mr. Black is a member of MoMA’s board, however (as well as of the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art). He is also one of this country’s foremost collectors, having amassed a world-class art collection that includes paintings by Manet, Cézanne and Degas; drawings by Raphael, Daumier and van Gogh; and sculptures by Brancusi, Gauguin and Degas.
Security at the museum will be extremely strict. Besides being one of the most recognizable images ever — reproduced on everything from mugs and T-shirts to key chains and inflatable dolls — “The Scream” is also one of the most often tempting to thieves. Versions have been stolen twice, first in 1994, when two burglars fled the National Gallery of Norway in Oslo with an 1893 “Scream” (it was recovered unharmed later that year), and then in 2004, when masked gunmen stole the 1910 version, as well as Munch’s “Madonna,” from the Munch Museum, also in Oslo; both works were recovered two years later.
When Sotheby’s was selling the pastel, it was first put on view in London for five days, and more than 7,500 people passed through airport-style security scanners and bag checks to see it. When it then came to New York, the auction house restricted viewing to Sotheby’s clients only.