One of only four versions of the iconic work, it is the only version in private hands as two of the other versions are in the Munch museum in Olso and the fourth is in the National Gallery of Norway also in Oslo. The painting is owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen whose father Thomas Olsen was a friend and patron of Munch, acquiring the painting in the late 1920s. The painting has been in the family for over 70 years and has rarely been seen by the public save for an exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, DC decades ago.
Simon Shaw the head of Sotheby’s Contemporary and Modern Art Department in New York said of the painting, “Given how rarely true icons come to the market it is difficult to predict The Scream’s value. The recent success of masterpieces at Sotheby’s suggests that the price could exceed $80 million.”
The Olsen Scream was created in 1895 from pastel on board and is considered the most vibrant of the four works. It is contained in an original handmade frame by Munch and includes a handpainted poem detailing the work’s inspiration.