Once again the press claims to know the buyer of a record-setting work of art. But Kelly Crow’s story is much more likely to be correct than the repeated claims that the Al-Thani clan were the buyers:
New York financier Leon Black paid Sotheby’s nearly $120 million for “The Scream,” Edvard Munch’s 1895 pastel of a terrified man holding his head, according to several people close to the collector. […] Mr. Black sits on the boards of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, setting up a potential tug of war between two of the country’s most powerful art institutions. Neither owns a “Scream,” aside from lithograph-print versions of it. […] His $750 million collection already includes drawings by Vincent van Gogh and Raphael, watercolors by J.M.W. Turner, cubist paintings by Pablo Picasso and ancient Chinese bronzes. […] Mr. Black has kept his art close to home. Dealers who have visited the Park Avenue apartment he shares with his wife, Debra, say it brims with art from an eclectic variety of styles and periods—from archaic Chinese vessels to Constantin Brâncuşi’s sleek sculpture, “Bird in Space.”
This revelation, if it is true, also undermines much of the commentary about trophy-hunting among collectors. Black’s eclectic buying, even at the trophy level, is clearly driven by his own eye.
An Art Mystery Solved: A Mogul is Scream Buyer (Wall Street Journal)