Most of us have seen images of Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream.” He made several versions in different media. We see it everywhere now because the web makes it so easy to find it, look at it and send it. There are hundreds of links to it. One of those original versions sold this week for a record $119.9 million at auction.
I wonder if anyone will ever pay $119.9 million for a digital version of it or anything else. Even though there are several versions by the artists, even though the delicate chalk and fragile paper may degrade over time, this original work is what someone wanted, not just the image.
As careful as the owner must be now with the pastel, that sensory experience of handling its weight, seeing the chalk strokes and smelling the oil and dust of original work, so far, seems to be worth a lot, and can’t yet be replaced by digital reproductions.