The world went crazy Wednesday night with news that Edvard Munch’s famous work of art, “The Scream,” sold for $119.9 million at Sotheby’s, setting the the world record for any work of art sold at an auction. The irony is when Edvard Munch painted “The Scream” he did not have enough money to buy canvas, so the painting is on cardboard. It is a remarkable image with a history to match: during the second world war when Norway was occupied by the Nazis, it was hidden in a hay loft.

But was Munch’s 1895 pastel really the priciest work of art? The sale is only a record in nominal terms: adjusted for inflation, several more expensive paintings have been sold (see below). When private sales are taken into consideration, “The Scream” looks like a bargain: press reports suggest that a buyer paid $250m for Paul Cézanne’s “The Card Players” in 2011.

The Card Players @ $250 Million (not verified)


Here’s a look at the costliest works of art, with the prices adjusted for inflation.


Portrait Du Docteur Gachet @ $142.3 Million

Vincent Van Gogh's "Portrait Du Docteur Gachet" sold at Christie's for $82.5 million in 1990, according to U.S. News and World Report, which translates to $142.3 million today.


Au Moulin De La Galette @ $134.6 Million

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's "Au Moulin de la Galette" sold for $78.1 million at Sotheby's in 1990, according to the New York Times, which translates to $134.6 million today.


Garçon A La Pipe @ $124.3 Million

Pablo Picasso's "Garçon A La Pipe" was sold by Sotheby's in 2004 for $104 million, according to BBC, which translates to $124.3 million today


The Scream @ $119 Million


Nude, Green Leaves, And Bust @ $111.7 Million

Pablo Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves, And Bust" was sold by Christie's in 2010 for $106.5 million, according to the Associated Press, which translates to $111.7 million today.


L’Homme Qui Marche @ $109.5 Million

Alberto Giacometti's sculpture was sold by Sotheby's in 2010 for $104 million, which translates to $109.5 million today.

Dora Maar Au Chat @ $106.4 Million

Pablo Picasso's "Dora Maar Au Chat" sold at Sotheby's for $95.2 million in 2006, according to the New York Times, which translates to $106.4 million today.



Here’s a Sotheby’s provided list of the most expensive artworks ever sold in auction