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Jerry Saltz Slams Tonight’s Auction of Edvard Munch’s Scream

Today, New York Magazine critic Jerry Saltz appeared on CBS This Morning to discuss tonight’s Sotheby’s auction of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” one of four versions of the famous work painted between 1893 and 1910.

Saltz isn’t a fan of the circus surrounding tonight’s sale and he dislikes that the chatter is mostly about the projected price tag and not the art itself. When asked what he’d do with $200 million if he had to spend it on one item, Saltz suggested he’s buy a building and great 200 artist studios, a museum, galleries and other art world features. He also deadpanned that he’d maybe buy a nuclear submarine and hang it on his wall.

The art critic seems to think the work, which is being sold by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, will pass into private hands but a more likely scenario may be that the iconic work ends up in one of the new museums planned for Doha, Qatar or Abu Dhabi, UAE. Qatar is, according to The Art Newspaper, the world’s largest contemporary art buyers, and it has been suggested that they were the ones behind the unconfirmed $250 million sale of Paul Cezanne’s “The Card Players” (c.1890) last year.

Olsen plans to use the funds from tonight’s sale to fund his private museum south of Oslo, Norway, where he will hang his 30 other Munch paintings. He told a Norwegian website, News and Views from Norway:

… the painting also represented anxiety and Olsen said he frankly prefers other aspects of Munch’s art. Asked whether he would miss the painting, Olsen said “no, we probably would be a bit anxious ourselves to have it hanging here (in a new museum he’s building south of Oslo).”

The auction will take place tonight at Sotheby’s at 7pm EST.

Related: Please sign the petition to tell Sotheby’s you do not support their lock out of union art handlers.

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