Scream buyer revealed

THE identity of the bidder who set a record for the highest price for any work of art at an auction when he bought Edvard Munch’s The Scream in May can be revealed. According to the Wall Street Journal the New York financier Leon Black is the bidder who offered nearly £74m for the work of art.

The identity of the buyer had been a well kept secret since the auction in May because Sotheby’s was keeping it secret. Yesterday the auction house declined to confirm that Black was indeed the buyer.

Black became a buyout executive for Drexel Burnham Lambert and rose to become the billionaire chairman and chief executive of New York firm Apollo Global Management.

His fortune, which Forbes said topped $3.4bn as of March, got a boost when Apollo went public in March 2011. Apollo said it manages $105bn in assets.

A few years ago the firm became a talking point in the UK after it was reported that it had takeon on Adam Applegarth, the former chief executive of Northern Rock at the time of its collapse, as an adviser to its European distressed debt fund.

The Munch painting was exhibited in London ahead of its auction in New York, where art investors enjoyed seeing it in all its glory.

David Norman of Sotheby’s said of the sale: “The sale of the Scream is the most exciting moment I have experienced here in my three decades.”