Munch’s The Scream Sells for Record $119.9 Million at Sotheby’s Auction

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NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 27:  Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' is seen at a media preview of Sotheby's May 2012 Sales of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art on April 27, 2012 in New York City. The masterpiece is one of four versions created by Munch and the only one that is privately owned. It will be auctioned May 2 and is expected to fetch over $80 million.   (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Sold! Photo: Mario Tama/2012 Getty Images

Edvard Munch's 1895 expressionist work The Scream sold for a record-setting $119,922,500 at a Sotheby's auction Wednesday night. Bidding for the Norwegian artist's depiction of anxiety started at $40 million, and after more than twelve minutes of one-upping, the gavel banged for a phone bidder. The pastel-on-board rendering of the recognizable work is one of four versions of the painting and the only one in private hands. According to the Associated Press, Sotheby's said that it's "the most colorful and vibrant of the four and the only version whose frame was hand-painted by the artist to include his poem, detailing the work's inspiration." The previous record price for artwork put up at an auction was $106.5 million for Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust," sold by Christie's in 2010. The buyer's name has not been disclosed but the individual is believed to be someone with a ton of money.