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Munch’s ‘Scream’ to go on sale in N.Y.; may fetch $80m

One of four versions of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream’’ will sell for an estimated $80 million or more.

NEW YORK - One of four versions of Edvard Munch’s masterpiece “The Scream’’ will be sold this spring in New York, Sotheby’s auction house announced yesterday.

Sotheby’s estimates that the work, which has become a modern icon of human anxiety, will sell for $80 million or more.

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The 1895 drawing of a man holding his head and screaming under a streaked, blood-red sky is being sold by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father was a friend and patron of Munch’s. It is the only version of “The Scream’’ still in private hands.

“I have lived with this work all my life, and its power and energy have only increased with time,’’ Olsen said. “Now, however, I feel the moment has come to offer the rest of the world a chance to own and appreciate this remarkable work, which is the only version of ‘The Scream’ not in the collection of a Norwegian museum.’’

The work will lead Sotheby’s Impressionist and modern sale on May 2. Olsen said proceeds will go toward creating a new museum, art center, and hotel in Hvitsten, Norway.

One version is owned by the National Museum and two others by the Munch Museum, also in Oslo.

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