Private Equity Billionaire Outed As Purchaser Of Munch’s The Scream

Apollo Global Management founder Leon Black has been named as the client who purchased the record breaking $120 million painting “The Scream” by the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch.

The  tempera on cardboard painting (one of four examples) is a 36-inch-by-28.9-inch example. Black purchased the painting at Sotheby’s last May to add to his collection of Turners, van Goghs, Picassos and a $47.6 million Raphael chalk drawing, “Head of a Muse,” a record auction price for a work on paper by the artist. Simon Shaw, of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art in New York, said the work was one of the most important to ever emerge from private hands on to the open market.

Black is on the boards of both the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museums. Whether it will eventually be donated to one of the New York institutions remains to be seen. The version of The Scream he now owns was sold by the Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend and patron of the artist. It is regarded as an iconic example of the artists prolific output. It is the only version of the work with a frame hand-painted by Munch which includes a poem explaining the work’s inspiration. The artist described himself “shivering with anxiety” and feeling “the great scream in nature”. This is the only version of the subject not in an Oslo museum.

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