Who bought The Scream?

The famous painting by Norwegian impressionist Edvard Munch got sold for a record price of 107 million US dollar this morning HK time (at 8 pm. New York time) – the most expensive painting ever sold at an auction. I got up early and streamed it live from Sotheby’s.com – and it was super exciting!! The bids started at 40 million US dollar and in a matter of 12 minutes it was all over! Apparently there were seven bidders, some on the phone, some in the room, speaking in English, Chinese and, some claim, in Norwegian.

The winning bid came over the phone, and for now the bidder has decided to stay anonymous. Disappointing. I have a feeling that the painting could very well end up here in Hong Kong. It was flown over here last week for 48 hours, so that a collector could have a look at it privately, Wall Street Journal reported. It could be private collectors from China or representatives for Chinese museums/galleries, as most of them do their transactions in Hong Kong, because of the low taxes here.

Or, of course, a private collector from Hong Kong, which is my best guess. In that case I wouldn’t be surprised if the painting ends up at the new M+ museum, bound to open in 2017, led by director Lars Nittve. When I interviewed him a while back about the new museum, he told me that his vision was to create a museum on pair with Tate Modern and MOMA, a top world class museum, with the best of both Western and Asian art. Can you imagine what genius marketing it would be for them to reveal The Scream at their opening?

Read my interview here (in Norwegian)

Experts have tipped the Quatar royal family or MOMA as possible buyers, but also claim that they would have come forward already if they bought the painting. Some Norwegian experts have been “worried” that the painting would end up in Chinese private hands. I don’t really see why that should be a problem, as long as it is rented out to a museum. Obviously Norway can’t take care of Munch. Plans of a new museum have again been scrapped, meanwhile his art is placed in the old Munchmuseum in Olso which has water leaks and can only show off a small percentage of his paintings. The art interest is booming amongst the Asian audience, so why not?

According to Wall Street Journal, Charlie Moffett, a Sotheby’s specialist, who represented the winning bid on the phone, often represents American buyers.

Hopefully we will know sooner than later who bought it. I am curious!

P.S: As I haven’t seen that many auctions in my life I was very intrigued by the auctionists performance. That must be the strangest and most fascinating job ever! At 100 mill US dollar he was joking, saying “We’ve got all the time in the world”. Watch it here

Who do you think bought the painting? Where should it be exhibited? Please leave your comment below!


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