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New York and London gallery Skarstedt is off to a roaring start at Frieze Masters 2014, counting among its early sales Andy Warhol’s 1984 remix of Edvard Munch’s "The Scream," which sold to a private collector for about $5.5 million.

That sum pales in comparison to the $119.9 million Leon Black paid for Munch’s own version of "The Scream" at Sotheby’s back in 2012, which set the record at the time for the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

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This past November, Francis Bacon’s triptych portrait Three Studies of Lucian Freud (1969) sold for $142.4 million at Christie’s, setting an artist’s record and becoming the most expensive work ever sold at auction. Less than a month later, the massive contemporary masterpiece turned up on loan, not at a modern-day art mecca like New York’s Museum of Modern Art (as Edvard Munch’s The Scream did), but on the opposite end of the US, at the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. The painting, which remained on view there through early April, was loaned by its new owner Elaine Wynn, ex-wife of casino mogul and top collector Steve Wynn. Mrs. Wynn, a resident of Nevada, was reportedly entitled to save more than $10 million in taxes by first parking the painting at the Portland Art Museum before bringing it to her home state.

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Sotheby’s announced that it has named Alexander Rotter and Cheyenne Westphal the new Global Heads of Contemporary Art. Tobias Meyer, the auction house’s former Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art, stepped down at the end of November 2013. Rotter and Westphal have both been with Sotheby’s for many years -- Rotter was behind the recent sale of Andy Warhol’s ‘Silver Car Crash,’ which brought a record $104 million, and Westphal helped launch Sotheby’s new contemporary art galleries in London.

Helena Newman and Simon Shaw will helm the auction house’s department of Impressionist and Modern Art. Newman, who joined Sotheby’s in 1988, was instrumental in the February 2010 auction that netted $263.6 million, a record for a European sale. Shaw, who has worked at Sotheby’s outposts in Stockholm, Paris and London, orchestrated the 2012 sale of Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream,’ which sold for an historic price of $119.9 million, a record for a modern work of art at auction.

Daniel Loeb, a hedge fund manager who is Sotheby’s largest shareholder, recently commented on the auction house’s need to establish new leadership and more efficient operations.

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On November 6, Sotheby’s held an evening sale of Impressionist and modern art in New York, which realized a shocking $290 million. It was the auction house’s most successful sale behind a May 2012 auction, which included a version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream that sold for a record $120 million.

 The sale, which surpassed its low estimate of $212.9 million but fell short of its $307.9 million high estimate, included new world auction records for six artists. Highlights included Alberto Giacometti’s Grande tete mince (Grande tete de Diego), the evening’s top lot, which achieved $50 million; Pablo Picasso’s portrait of Marie-Therese Walter, Tete de feme, which garnered nearly $40 million, exceeding its high estimate of 30 million; and Claude Monet’s Impressionist masterpiece Glacons, effet blanc, which sailed past its high estimate of $14 million and sold for approximately $16 million.

Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby’s Impressionist & Modern Art department, said, “Tonight’s results speak for themselves and today’s efficient marketplace – collectors have a remarkable understanding not only of quality, but also of value. The key is matching their discerning taste with the right combination of fresh material and responsible estimates, and we did that this evening.”

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In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Norwegian artist’s birth, two museums in Oslo, Norway will organize the most comprehensive exhibit of Edvard Munch’s (1863-1944) work to date. Munch 150, which is currently on view at the National Gallery and the Munch Museum, includes the artist’s most recognizable works including The Scream, Vampire, and The Dance of Life.

The exhibition spans Munch’s extensive career from his earlier works to his death in 1944. The National Gallery’s show focuses on the artist’s formative years from 1882 to 1903 and the Munch Museum is handling his more mature works, created during the last 40 years of life.

Munch is revered for his visceral works that expertly capture the human condition but his home country did not readily accept him as a distinguished artist. In 1940, just days after the Nazis invaded Oslo, Munch bequeathed his entire oeuvre to the city in order to protect it. After the war, his works were placed in a nondescript building in the city, rarely visited, and poorly guarded.

Since then, Munch has become regarded as a highly important artist; exhibitions have been held across the globe to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth and a version of The Scream, the only one in private hands, recently sold at auction for a record $119.9 million, securing his role as a powerful presence in the art market. In addition, Oslo authorities agreed to built a new Munch Museum in a more distinguished building, which is expected to open in 2018.

Munch 150, which includes 270 paintings and drawings, will be on view through October 13, 2013.

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The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Norwegian painter and printmaker Edvard Munch (1863-1944) with an exhibition of over 20 works from its collection. Edvard Munch: A 150th Anniversary Tribute presents prints and drawings by the artist including Geschrei (The Scream) (1895), The Madonna (1895), and Two Women on the Shore (1898).

Best known for his seminal painting The Scream (1893), Munch is revered for his visceral works that expertly capture the human condition. In addition to his emotionally raw paintings, Munch also created tender depictions of women, children, and lovers.

The National Gallery has organized three major exhibitions of Munch’s work in recent decades with the last taking place in 2010. Curated by Andrew Robison, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery, Edvard Munch: A 150th Anniversary Tribute will be on view at the museum through July 28, 2013.

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On Wednesday, March 13, 2013 Norwegian officials announced that the country’s government would help fund a new museum devoted to the influential painter and printmaker Edvard Munch (1863-1944). The new institution will replace the current Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, which was built after World War II in a notoriously rundown neighborhood. Many believe that the shoddily constructed museum does not do justice to Munch, his art or his legacy.

The city council has been discussing the creation of a new museum since 2008 but plans were stymied by disagreements over cost, location, and architecture. After years of disputes and little progress, the Norwegian state decided to step in by offering to help fund the $278 million project as well as assist with project management. State officials are asking Oslo’s city council to make a formal request for the support, which would hopefully lift the museum out of its dismal financial situation.

Upon his death in 1944, Munch bequeathed a large portion of his collection to the city of Oslo including two versions of his seminal painting The Scream. While many people hope that the government’s offer will help move the museum project along, others are not as optimistic. Carl Ivar Hagen, a member of the city council, doesn’t expect the matter to be resolved anytime soon. Hagen believes that even with the state’s assistance disputes over the new museum’s location will continue to halt progress.

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Leon Black, a billionaire financier and chief executive of the private equity firm, Apollo Global Management, announced his acquisition of Phaidon Press, a publisher of fine art books. Black, who paid an undisclosed amount for the company, bought Phaidon from the British businessman, Richard Schlagman.

Phaidon is one of premier publishers of books on the visual arts along with Taschen and Assouline. The company has collaborated with such artists as Ai Wei Wei, Nan Goldin, and Stephen Shore and they publish everything from children books to cookbooks to collector’s editions that often come with signed prints or specially-commissioned pieces of art. On Phaidon’s site there is a statement from Black saying, “We having greatly admired Phaidon and the important contribution the company has made to art and culture. We are impressed with how Richard Schlagman has built the business and the Phaidon brand under his ownership over the last two decades. My family and I look forward to supporting the future of the company, including through the ongoing development of its publishing program, further geographic expansion, and the launch of digital products.”

Black, who is rumored to have paid $120 million for Edvard Munch’s The Scream earlier this year, is one of the country’s most prominent art collectors. In May, Black and his wife announced a $48 million contribution to the new visual arts center at Dartmouth College. An alumnus of the school, Black and his family also included a commissioned sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly in the gift.

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On November 5th, the Cleveland Museum of Art will auction off one of its six Claude Monet paintings in New York. Wheat Field (1881) carries an estimated price of $5–$7 million and the museum hopes to use the funds from the sale to strengthen its early 20th century European painting and sculpture collection, an area that has been lacking.

The Museum decided to auction Wheat Fields shortly after David Franklin was named the Museum’s director in 2010. Franklin did not think the painting could hold its own next to to the other five Monets in the museum’s collection including a widely admired Water Lily painting and the seminal, Red Kerchief.

Since Wheat Field was donated to the museum in 1947 as an unrestricted gift of Mrs. Henry White Cannon, the museum is able to sell the painting without fear of complaint from the donor’s family. The Museum would like to acquire a painting by The Scream artist, Edvard Munch, or Wassily Kandinsky, the pioneering Russian abstractionist, to help round out their collection.

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One of the most immediately recognizable artworks of all time, Edvard Munch’s (1863–1944) 1895 version of The Scream will be on view at New York’s Museum of Modern Art for six months, starting October 24th. Sold for nearly $120 million at Sotheby’s in May to a mystery collector, The Scream is the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.

Munch created four versions of The Scream between 1893 and 1910. The other three versions reside in Norwegian museums and have not traveled for years. The pastel on board that will be on view at MoMA is the only version in private hands and has never before been shown publicly in New York. It is also the most colorful of the bunch and boasts a frame painted by the artist with a poem describing a walk at sunset that inspired the piece. A part of Munch’s “Frieze of Life” series, it is truly a privilege to be able to see The Scream, a cornerstone of Modern art, in person.

It has been suggested that the New York financier, Leon Black, was the buyer of the pastel that sold at Sotheby’s but neither Mr. Black nor officials at Sotheby’s will confirm. A member of MoMA’s board, Black is one of foremost collectors in the U.S.

The Scream will be on view at MoMA through April 29th and the museum will be sure to ramp up security during its stay.

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