Unfortunately, my kid didn’t paint it. And somebody wanted it badly enough to bid $119 million over the phone, quickly eclipsing my own conservative estimate of $49. Now that famous painting is going out of public view and into somebody’s extremely large private home. Fine with me. Maybe art collecting isn’t my thing. Next time I get an urge to check out an example of late 19th-century expressionism, there’s always Wikipedia.
You can buy a lot of things for $119 million. At Sotheby’s in New York City, the very pinnacle of Western civilization, you can buy one Edvard Munch painting. In the same neighborhood you could buy about 400 Bentleys. Who knows what you could buy in Haiti, or Sub Saharan Africa or certain blighted areas right here in the United States? One thing’s for sure: A picture of a guy slapping his cheeks like Macauley Culkin probably isn’t real high on the wish list.
Everything is worth precisely what someone will pay for it at any given moment. This is the moment we’ve reached right now. You can see why the most recent buyer of “The Scream” might wish to remain anonymous. And if you squint at the picture, you might get an idea about why that guy is screaming.