Queuing for Munch

April 25 2012

Image of Queuing for Munch

Picture: ATG

The Antiques Trade Gazette asks: 

Is this the longest queue ever to view a single lot coming up at auction? 

More than 7500 people turned up to take a look at Edvard Munch's The Scream as Sotheby's staged a five-day exhibition of the picture in London prior to its sale in New York on May 2.

With unprecedented security arrangements for what seems likely to become the most expensive object ever sold at auction, people queued for up to 45 minutes, passing under two airport-style scanners before reaching the hushed serenity of the darkened room. Around eight to ten people were permitted to view the picture at a time...

Update - a reader writes:

We hear a lot about Edvard Munch's "The Scream" as if he had painted only one of it. It would be clearer to refer to, say, the version of Edvard Munch's "The Scream" that is in such-and-such a place ... or his copy of it, or his pastel version of it, or not the version or copy of it that was stolen, etc etc, or whatever.

A valid point. It’s interesting that in the Old Master world, some people can talk rather sniffily of the difference between ‘the prime’ version of a composition and later derivations (of a Rubens, for example). But in the modern art world all versions of a work seem to have equal validity. At least, they do when people are trying to sell them…

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