The Scream has made history. No, not the movie SCREAM, but the painting that inspired the killer's mask. The rare work, an 1895 pastel of "a terrified man clutching his cheeks along an Oslo fjord" by Norweigan artist Edvard Munch, sold this week, in its original frame, at a Sotheby's auction for $119.9 million.
The bidding war, which took about 12 minutes, was won by a participant on the phone, presumably an American.
A painter during the famous fin de siecle era that marked the end of 1800's romanticism and ushered in the industrial age, Munch rendered four versions of his most famous work, this one being the third that he had done.
The seller had it in his family since his childhood and remembered it being hidden from the Nazis in a barn along with a number of Munch's other works. The profits are said to be going to build a new Edvard Munch museum near the town of Hvitsten, Norway, where Munch painted.
The Scream is mainly remembered by horror fans a the mask visage that the killer, Ghost Face, wore in the eponymous movie directed by Wes Craven
A Wall Street Journal article describes the work as "a bald, skeletal figure standing at a suicide spot on Oslo's horseshoe-shaped bay where people could often hear screams from a nearby insane asylum, according to art historians. Munch's sister who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia was housed in that asylum".
The previous highest-selling work of art ever at auction was Pablo Picasso's 1932 portrait of his mistress.