The Wall Street Journal is reporting that financier Leon Black is the buyer of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” which sold for a record-breaking $120 million at an auction in early May.
It cites as sources “several people close to the collector.” Reps for Black reportedly declined to comment.
Black, the founder of Apollo Global Management, is known as one of the most powerful art collectors on Wall Street, with a collection worth some $750 million, according to the WSJ‘s Kelly Crow.
The financier, who is worth an estimated $3.5 billion, focuses on collecting Old Masters, Impressionism, modern painting, Chinese sculpture, and contemporary art. He also sits on the boards of both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, raising questions as to where the painting will ultimately wind up.
The art world has been attempting for months to guess the mystery buyer of the painting, which set auction records when it sold at Sotheby’s after a 12-minute bidding battle May 2. The 1895 work was sold by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father Thomas was a friend, neighbour and patron of Munch, the artist.
According to the WSJ, Black began collecting art as a teenager, and unlike other wealthy art collectors who have put their collections on public display, prefers to keep his acquisitions close to home.
While he is primarily known as a collector of drawings, in 2005, Black reportedly paid $27 million for Constantin Brancusi’s “Bird in Space,” at the time a record for a sculpture.
In March he and his wife Debra, a Broadway producer, donated $48 million to Dartmouth, his alma mater, for the construction of a visual arts centre.
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