This is 'The Scream' (Der Schrei der Natur) which is one of a series of paintings, pastels and lithographs by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, produced over a period from 1893-1910.
The works, described by art critics as 'masterpieces', were inspired by a walk just outside Oslo taken by the artist with some friends in 1892. He describes the moment of inspiration thus:
"I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature."
One of the pastels, executed in 1895 and currently owned privately by a Norwegian businessman, is to be offered for auction in New York in May. It is thought that it may sell for as much as $80 million.
I can see nothing in it. I don't either like or dislike it. I doubt that I'd want to hang it in my house (although clearly, and for obvious reasons, I wouldn't say no to one of the originals).
I wonder what it is that makes it worth $80m... Any ideas?