NEW YORK -- One of the art world's most recognizable images, Edvard Munch's "The Scream," sold Wednesday for a record $119.9million at auction in New York City.
The 1895 artwork, a modern symbol of human anxiety, was sold at Sotheby's. The buyer's name was not released. The record price includes the auction house's fee.
The image of a man holding his head and screaming under a streaked, blood-red sky is one of four versions by the Norwegian expressionist painter. The auctioned piece at Sotheby's is the only one left in private hands.
The previous record for an artwork sold at auction was $106.5 million for Pablo Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves, and Bust," sold by Christie's in 2010.
The image of "The Scream" has become part of pop culture, "used by everyone from Warhol to Hollywood to cartoons to teacups and T-shirts," said Michael Frahm of the London-based art advisory service firm Frahm Ltd.
Sotheby's said the pastel-on-board version of "The Scream" is the most colorful and vibrant of the four and the only version whose frame was hand-painted by the artist to include his poem, detailing the work's inspiration.