Statement from Petter Olsen – after the sale of Skrik, May 2012

I hope that the publicity this sale provides will increase the general public’s interest in Munch’s work and awareness of the important message I feel it conveys.

The Scream for me shows the horrifying moment when man realizes his impact on nature and the irreversible changes he has set in motion, making the planet increasingly uninhabitable.

Petter Olsen

The image of The Scream may make more of us understand the magnitude of the consequences of our continued emissions of greenhouse gases. This will inevitably lead to the triggering of uncontrollable feedback mechanisms that lie latent in the physics of nature.

They will kick in, slowly at first, then accelerate, causing the Earth to overheat. The biosphere will shrink and there will be less oxygen, water and food. More death, less life. And very few lifeboats left when we go down.

Munch’s most important work Life’s frieze, never completed, but found in many versions, has as its theme Love, anxiety and death. The Scream is about anxiety approaching and anticipating death.

Munch’s hand-painted poem on the frame ends with the words “The great scream in nature”. It is as if Munch had a premonition of what man was going to do to nature.

In the meantime, Munch will continue to be a major force in my life. With my own Munch project, I want to focus on Life and Love.

Statement from Petter Olsen to the press after the sale of Scream at Sotheby’s New York, May 2012.