Press Release New York
EDVARD MUNCH’S THE SCREAM SETS THE
HIGHEST PRICE FOR ANY WORK OF ART AT AUCTION:
$119,922,500 / £73,921,284 / €91,033,826
$330,568,550 Marks the Highest-Ever Total for an Auction of Impressionist & Modern Art at Sotheby’s Worldwide
2 May 2012 – Auction history was made at Sotheby’s tonight when Edvard Munch’s iconic masterpiece The Scream sold for $119,922,500 / £73,921,284 / €91,033,826 in New York, marking a new world record for any work of art at auction*. A group of at least eight bidders jumped into the competition, but it was a prolonged battle between two highly determined phone bidders that carried the final selling price to its historic level, after more than 12 minutes.
The Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale totaled a remarkable $330,568,550 / £203,765,332 / €250,936,357, Sotheby’s highest-ever total for a sale of Impressionist & Modern Art worldwide**, and the second-highest total for a Sotheby’s auction in any category***.
Simon Shaw, Senior Vice President and Head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department in New York, said: “If ever there was a work of art of true shock and awe it is Edvard Munch’s The Scream, which is not only one of the seminal images from art history, but also one of the visual keys to the modern consciousness. We are delighted to say that this magnificent picture achieved a new world record at Sotheby’s.
All but one of the 17 works from the estate of legendary financier Theodore J. Forstmann were sold in tonight’s auction, with the group totaling $83,012,000 – well within its $64.4/96.2 million estimate****. The selection of paintings, sculpture and works on paper were led by Pablo Picasso’s Dora Maar titled Femme assise dans un fauteuil, which achieved $29,202,500 and marked the second-highest price in the sale (pictured right, est. $20/30 million). Additional highlights from Mr. Forstmann’s collection included Joan Miro’s Tête humaine from 1931 that sold for $14,866,500 (est. $10/15 million), and Paul Gauguin’s Cabane sous les arbres that brought $8,482,500 above a high estimate of $7 million.
A superb offering of Surrealist works in the evening sale was led by Salvador Dalí’s Printemps nécrophilique from 1936, which has not appeared on the market in nearly 15 years. The work achieved $16,322,500, well in excess of its $12 million high estimate (pictured left). A group of five gouaches by René Magritte from a private European collection totaled a strong $4,588,500, in excess of their cumulative high estimate of $3.8 million, while Max Ernst’s 1940 depiction of his lover and fellow Surrealist Leonora Carrington titled Leonora in the Morning Light outperformed expectations in selling for $7,992,500 above a high estimate of $5 million.
Strong prices for sculpture in the New York auction were led by a group of works from an important European collection, featuring rare examples by Constantin Brancusi and Auguste Rodin. Brancusi’s Prométhée achieved $12,682,500, more than double its $6 million low estimate (pictured right), while a group of pieces by Rodin – including four lifetime casts – totaled $5,878,000, above their overall high estimate of $5.3 million.
* The previous record for a work of art at auction was held by Pablo Picasso’s Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust, which sold at Christie’s New York in May 2010 for
** Sotheby’s previous record for a sale of Impressionist & Modern Art was $286,165,000, achieved in New York on 17 May 1990
*** Sotheby’s highest-ever auction total was achieved by the Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York on 14 May 2008, which totaled $362,037,000
**** Estimates do not include buyer’s premium