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Sotheby's: Sale of Munch's 'Scream' could fetch $80M

Sotheby's will offer the only privately owned version of Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream" at an auction in New York on May 2, and expects it to fetch more than $80 million.

The work is owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father Thomas was a friend, neighbor and patron of Munch, the auctioneer said on Tuesday.

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There are only four versions of "The Scream"; this pastel version dates from 1895.

Simon Shaw, senior vice president and head of Sotheby's Impressionist & Modern Art department in New York, called the pastel-on-board creation "one of the most important works of art in private hands.

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"Given how rarely true icons come to the market it is difficult to predict The Scream's value," he added in a statement. "The recent success of masterpieces at Sotheby's suggests that the price could exceed $80 million."

Olsen said proceeds from the sale would go towards building a new museum, art centre and hotel at his farm in Norway.

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