The Scream (Norwegian: Skrik) is the popular name given to multiple versions of a composition by Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch between 1893 and 1910. The German title Munch gave these works is Der Schrei der Natur (The Scream of Nature). The works show a figure with an agonized expression against a landscape with a tumultuous orange sky. Arthur Lubow has described The Scream as "an icon of modern art, a Mona Lisa for our time."
Edvard Munch created four versions in paint and pastels. The National Gallery in Oslo, Norway, holds one of two painted versions (1893, shown at right). The Munch Museum holds the other painted version (1910, see gallery, below) and also a pastel version from 1893. These three versions have seldom traveled, though the 1893 pastel was exhibited at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2015. The second pastel version from 1895 was sold for $119,922,600 at Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art auction on 2 May 2012 to financier Leon Black, the fourth highest nominal price paid for a painting at auction and was displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York from October 2012 to April 2013.
In 1895 Munch created a lithograph stone from which several prints produced by Munch survive. Only approximately four dozen prints were made before the original stone was resurfaced by the printer in Munch's absence.
Both painted versions have been the targets of high-profile art thefts. During the 1994 Olympics the version in the National Gallery was stolen and recovered several months later. In 2004 gunmen took both The Scream and Madonna from the Munch Museum; both were recovered two years later.
The original German title given by Munch to his work was Der Schrei der Natur ("The Scream of Nature"). The Norwegian title, Skrik, is cognate with the English "shriek".[clarification needed] Occasionally, the painting also has been called The Cry.
In his diary in an entry headed "Nice 22 January 1892", Munch wrote:
I was walking along the road with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.