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Munch’s ‘The Scream’ Could Fetch Up To $200 Million At Sotheby’s Auction

Edvard Munch's "The Scream'' (credit: CBS 2)

Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – One of the art world’s most recognizable images, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” could sell for could go for as much as $200 million when it is auctioned at Sotheby’s on Wednesday.

It’s one of only four original versions of the 1895 painting of a man holding his head and screaming under a streaked, blood-red sky, which has become a modern symbol for human anxiety.

Three are in Norwegian museums; the one at Sotheby’s is the only one left in private hands. It is being sold by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend and patron of the artist.

Sotheby’s said its pastel-on-board version of “The Scream” is the most colorful and vibrant of the four and the only version whose frame was hand-painted by the artist to include his poem, detailing the work’s inspiration.

“There are few images of any type that one could show on the street in any city of the western world and expect that most of the poeple looking at it would know what it was,” Simon Shaw, head of Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern Art department in New York, said in February.

A price tag of $80 million would be among the highest-ever for an artwork. The record is $106.5 million for Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust,” sold in 2010 by Christie’s in New York.

Proceeds from the sale will go for the establishment of a new museum, art center and hotel in Norway.

For more information about the auction, click here.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)