“I was walking along a road one evening – on one side lay the city, and below me was the fjord. The sun went down – the clouds were stained red, as if with blood. I felt as though the whole of nature was screaming – it seemed as though I could hear a scream. I painted that picture, painting the clouds like real blood. The colours screamed, ” Edvard Munch has said of the painting many dub the Mona Lisa of the modern age. The indelible image of a hairless, sexless figure screaming silently against a violent sky has become an ubiquitous symbol of the existential dread in contemporary life. In May of this year, the iconic painting became the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction when it was bought by New York financier Leon Black for a stunning $119.9 million.
Mr. Black has loaned “The Scream” to the Museum of Modern Art, where it will be on view from October 24, 2012 – April 29, 2013. The Norwegian Expressionist master painted four versions of “The Scream,” three of which are in Norwegian museums while this fourth, a pastel on board, has always been in private hands and has never before been seen by the public, according to MoMA sources. The pastel will be the focal point of the exhibition that will also include several Munch prints created around the same time. Security at the museum will be especially tight considering “The Scream” has been the target of several attempted and successful thefts, and the lines will be undoubtedly long. Nonetheless, we will certainly be among the throng waiting to welcome “The Scream” to New York.