Andy Warhol, The Scream (After Munch), detail, Screenprint in a unique combination of colours, 1984
Last May's record-breaking Sotheby's sale of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" for £73.9m — the highest price every paid for an artwork at auction — marked the start of a Munch mania, subsequently fuelled by Tate Modern's ambitious retrospective of the Norwegian painter's oeuvre.
All dating from 1984, "The Scream (After Munch)", "Eva Mudocci (After Munch)", and "Madonna and Self-Portrait with Skeleton’s Arm (After Munch)" come from a European private collection and have a combined presale estimate of £500,000 – 750,000.
It is easy to imagine how Warhol could have felt a particular affinity with the tortured Norwegian master. The ghostly way in which the American artist chose to depict himself in "Madonna and Self-Portrait with Skeleton's Arm (After Munch)" pertains to a Munchian anguished psyche, while Warhol's Madonna, shown like in Munch's original during the conception, is bursting with Hollywood glamour.
With "The Scream," Warhol was also tackling what had already become a Campbell's Soup-like global brand, an image so recognizable that — like the Mona Lisa he famously reproduced — it could signify "art" at once glance.
The Sotheby's sale, which comprises about 200 pieces from the last five centuries, also includes a Munch woodcut of "The Girls on the Bridge," currently on show at Tate Modern (presale estimate: £180,000 – 200,000).