Munch’s The Scream Expected to Auction for More Than $80 Million

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Scanpix Norway / Reuters

The only privately owned version of Edvard Munch’s famed painting The Scream will be sold at a Sotheby’s auction in New York on May 2. It is expected to fetch at least $80 million, Reuters reports.

There are four versions of the famous 1895 work, three of which belong to Norwegian museum collections. The version to be auctioned is owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend, neighbor and patron of the artist.

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The pastel-on-board creation is “one of the most important works of art in private hands,” Simon Shaw, senior vice president and head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department in New York, told Reuters. Though it’s difficult to predict exactly how much the work will sell for, based on the recent success of masterpieces at Sotheby’s, he said the price could easily exceed the estimated $80 million.

The instantly recognizable work is often regarded as an artistic manifestation of modern anxiety and agony. TIME featured the painting on a 1961 cover to accompany a feature titled “Medicine: The Anatomy of Angst.”

“It’s an image that has burnt itself into our collective retina,” Shaw told Reuters.

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Two of the four versions have been targeted in major art thefts. In 1994, one was stolen from Norway’s National Gallery, and later was returned unharmed. In 2004, masked gunmen lifted the 1910 version from the Munch Museum in Oslo. That version was also recovered and put back on display in 2008.

Olsen said he plans to donate the proceeds toward constructing a new museum, art center and hotel at his farm in Norway.