You learn something every day. I knew about "The Scream" and even how the red sky may have been the result of a volcanic eruption the year he painted it, but until reading about a sale of one version of "The Scream" in the Wall Street Journal this morning, I didn't know there were so many varieties:
One of four versions of "The Scream" that Munch created, this is the only one not in an Oslo museum and the first to ever come up at auction...No way I could "stare at it for the rest of my life and be happy," but it's still interesting. More at the link, and note BTW that the scream is not coming from the man in the painting.
Top clients have visited the picture privately at Sotheby's in New York, sitting in high-backed chairs set a short distance from the work inside a locked room. "One of the world's great collectors said, 'I could sell all my pictures, put this on my wall, put my chair here with a cup of coffee and stare at it for the rest of my life and be happy,'" says Mr. Shaw...
The version of the "The Scream" up for sale at Sotheby's is a bright mix of 12 different colors, with the skeletal character in the foreground sporting one blue nostril and one brown one. The third in a series created between 1893 and 1910, the work was created with pastel on rough board. Some art dealers view the pastel as a mark against the work, though others say the lines and colors are more electric than even those found in the painted versions. The picture offers another standout feature: its frame, inscribed with the original 1892 poem Munch wrote that is said to have inspired the work. In it, he describes walking along that fiord, "trembling with anxiety" and sensing "an infinite scream passing through nature."