The Expressionist artist, Edvard Munch, created four versions of The Scream in various media. It shows “a figure with an agonized expression against a landscape with a tumultuous orange sky. Arthur Lubow has described The Scream as ‘an icon of modern art, a Mona Lisa for our time'”.
Three versions have not traveled for many years. The National Gallery, Oslo, has one of two painted versions and the Munch Museum has the other plus a pastel. The fourth version, also a pastel, sold for $119,922,600 at Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art auction on May 2, 2012. “It was the fourth highest nominal price paid for a painting at auction”.
“The Scream has been the target of several high-profile art thefts. In 1994, the version in the National Gallery was stolen. It was recovered several months later. In 2004, both The Scream and Madonna were stolen from the Munch Museum, and were both recovered two years later”.
To see my post with a black and white version that could be copied and used as a coloring book page click here.
What was the inspiration for The Scream? In a diary entry headed Nice 22 January 1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image:
“One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream”.
To read the poem Munch created about the above experience and other people’s speculations about what inspired Munch click here. Wikipedia that I quoted above also has a paragraph in the same link regarding how The Scream has been and still is used “In popular culture”. Here are a couple examples:
“A simplified version of the subject of the painting is one of the pictographs considered for use on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant as a non-language-specific symbol of danger in order to warn future human civilizations of the presence of radioactive waste on the site.”
Which version was sold at auction?
Editor of Written Across the Genres
Author of Hada’s Fog