Identity of ‘Scream’buyer revealed?

14 July 2012

The identity of the successful bidder for “The Scream," the $119.9-million Edvard Munch pastel auctioned off at an exciting Sotheby's evening sale on May 2, hasn't been revealed since it was sold. According to the Wall Street Journal the art market mystery of the year may just have been solved.

The WSJ reports that the 60-year old American businessman Leon Black is the new owner of the painting. According to the article, several people close to the billionaire collector confirmed that he is, in fact, the owner of the painting, but a spokesman for Black declined to comment.

Mr. Black, well-known for his collection of drawings and Old Masters, is one of a handful of billionaires whose lavish art spending has transformed the international art market in recent years. His $750 million collection already includes works by Vincent van Gogh , J.M.W. Turner, Pablo Picasso and ancient Chinese bronzes. Three years ago, he paid Christie's $47.6 million for a Raphael chalk drawing, "Head of a Muse," setting the record for a work on paper at the time.

Mr. Black sits on the boards of both of New York City's major art institutions, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA. The WSJ suggests this may set up a tug-of-war between the two museums over who eventually might end up with it in their collection.

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