Last night, Edvard Munch's famous painting The Scream sold for a record sum of $119.9 million, but it's not currently clear who it was that purchased the painting. The 1895 pastel was purchased by an anonymous bidder, at a sale in Sotheby's, New York last night (May 2, 2012), in an auction that lasted for 12 minutes. The painting is one of four in a series by the revered artist, but is the only one that is privately owned.
The Daily Beast have today provided an account of the final moments of the historic sale, before offering an insight into the speculation around who may have purchased the legendary artwork. One of the city's top art dealers reportedly said that a "low profile European billionaire" was probably the closest guess. According to their article, "In the days leading up to the sale, rumors had circulated that a museum was buying, sometimes the talk was of a group of trustees," though they were unable to pinpoint who either of those may have been. Apparently, Donald Marron, the president emeritus of the Museum of Modern Art "sprung up" as soon as the gavel had fallen but he later denied involvement, saying "I don't know if it went to an institution-but it should have."
The Microsoft mogul Bill Gates is a collector of art but primarily only that of American artists and there were few other individuals that seemed to fit the bill when it came to the hunt for the anonymous bidder. The auctioneer Tobias Meyer reportedly told one employee of Sotheby's 'I love you' when their client changed their mind about withdrawing from the race and entered a bid beyond $100 million.