Portrait of Gillard govt fetches $120 million
A swirly pastel painting that looks like a kid’s crayon drawing has just sold for $120 million at a Sotheby’s auction in New York. It is the most expensive artwork ever sold.
The buyer is unknown, but the likely purchaser of Norwegian symbolist Edvard Munch’s The Scream, at least according to the Los Angeles Times, is one of the world’s 1200 billionaires. The LA Times goes on to suggest somewhat tantalisingly that the buyer could be a criminal.
The yarn revealed that the painting was shopped around the world, so collectors could see if it went nicely alongside their other artworks, doomsday devices and assorted accoutrements on the interior walls of their heavily-guarded compounds.
Munch actually painted four Screams, but the other three are held by museums. Expectations were around the $80 million mark today but up to seven bidders forced the price up to record heights.
The previous high for an artwork was Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust”, which sold for $106.5 million two years ago.
Australia’s Alan Bond is high on the list. He bought Van Gogh’s Irises in 1987 for $54 million before he sold it back to Kerry Packer for 20 cents. Wait, that was Channel Nine, wasn’t it. Anyway.
The Australian government bought Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles for US $2 million in 1973, and it’s probably the best thing Gough Whitlam ever did. Aside from the fact the abstract masterpiece is now thought to be worth as much as $50 million, it is actually one heck of an awesome thing to behold.
Here at The Punch, we’d love to know if you think buying The Scream was $120 million well spent. How would you spend a lazy $120 mill if you had it lying around?
We’re just as keen to hear whether you like the painting. Inspired by a particularly blood red Norwegian sunset, Munch painted the thing in 1895 as a study in the agony of existence, or the futility of the human condition or some such uplifting theme.
Personally, the thing gives me the willies. Donald Trump bought a plane with gold seat belt buckles and suede ceilings last year for $100 million. I’d take that any day.
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