Munch heirs fight ‘Scream’ misuse

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Heirs of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch are screaming yet again over alleged misuse of their famed relative’s most well-known painting Skriket  (The Scream). They objected to its use in a Swedish firm’s ads for gift certificates last December.

Munch's famous "Scream" is vulnerable to lots of misuse. PHOTO: Munch Museet

The ads used the familiar motif to peddle gift certificates aimed at taking the anxiety out of Christmas shopping. Munch’s heirs are claiming NOK 125,000 in compensation, after a Swedish intellectual property organization discovered the unauthorized use and called it “especially alarming,” because it also manipulated Munch’s art.

It’s not the first time Munch’s heirs have fought to protect the iconic image from being used in any number of unauthorized commercial ventures. The organization is actually filing the legal action with the heirs’ permission and claims there could be many more such claims.

The last of four versions of “The Scream,” meanwhile, will soon be auctioned on behalf of its owner, wealthy shipping heir Petter Olsen, who will use proceeds to help finance a cultural center and new Munch gallery he’s planning on his farm south of Oslo. The painting is expected to draw an enormous price, with a minimum bid of NOK 450 million (USD 80 million), and it already has attracted huge crowds at a showing in London. It will go on the auction block May 2 in New York.

Views and News staff