Munch’s ‘The Scream’ and 14 More Shocking Auction Sales
Life + Money

Munch’s ‘The Scream’ and 14 More Shocking Auction Sales

REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

In 2010, in the midst of a recession and with a 9.9 unemployment rate, Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” sold for $106.5 million, breaking the record for the highest price for any work of art ever sold at an auction. Well, move over Picasso. On Wednesday, the record was broken again when Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” sold for $119.9 million, nearly three times the starting bid of $40 million.

PHOTO GALLERY: 15 of the Most Expensive Auction Items Ever Sold

Today, things are different than they were in 2010: Unemployment has now fallen to 8.1 percent as of Friday morning, and consumer spending is up. But as Occupy Wall Street protestors stood outside Sotheby’s to show support for the art handlers union and five wealthy bidders eagerly threw around millions to own the painting, the scene exemplified how much the nation has changed in the past two years―and indicated all too acutely the country’s class warfare that seems to be heating up faster than the auctioneer’s chant.

Despite its record-breaking price, “The Scream” painting is just one of many recent jaw-dropping auction sales, as the art market continues to see a spectacular recovery after struggling in 2009. Click here to see 15 of the most expensive and quirky auction items sold recently