What’s New with Edvard Munch?

There are two exciting news items with respect to Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch this November.

First, Edvard Munch’s rare painting “Love and Pain” just sold for $34 million at the Sotheby’s auction in New York on November 3, 2008.

The artwork depicts a pale red-headed woman leaning over and passionately clutching a man on her lap. The woman in the painting is consoling her lover (?) The relationship between the two parties is not exactly clear.

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“Love and Pain”
Edvard Munch

The title does however clearly indicate a relationship between falling in love and getting hurt. The painting depicts an intimate tenderness. While the woman dominates the vulnerable man, it is not threatening. The painting has been dubbed ‘the Vampire’ by Przybyszewski, however, this clearly misreads the intend of the artist and is more sensationalist than accurate.

Overall, this painting is a rare find. Till this day, the painting has remained in private hands for 70 years. As you can gauge from my other article on Munch, as most of his works are housed in museums in Scandinavia. It was expected to sell for $35 million (or anywhere between $30 to $40 million), and so that target has been nearly reached.

While this painting probably won’t be for sale again for some time to come, you can amuse yourself with the purchase of a rather nice canvas print of said painting for a fraction of the cost. Ha ~ click on the image shown here to consider your options.

Complete Munch Catalog with Celebratory Munch Seminar

The second Munch news item will probably have a more long-lasting and wider benefit to the community than the sale of that rare painting. This month marks the launch of the most comprehensive guide of Edvard Munch’s work. It is called ‘GERD WOLL: EDVARD MUNCH. THE COMPLETE PAINTINGS’.

Edvuard Munch bequeathed an enormous collection to the City of Oslo towards the end of WWII. The city established the Musée Eduard Munch. Many of Edvuard Munch paintings and portraits can be seen in this museum in Oslo (www.munch.museum.no).

The book project involved a systematic gathering of photographs and information on external works by Munch. Of course, a keystone was already provided by the Munch Museum’s catalog of its collection and of privately owned paintings that had been examined by the museum staff.

The catalog is enormous. It comprises a total of 1789 works, and is published in four volumes.

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Summer Night at the Beach
Edvard Munch

The publisher Cappelen Damm, in conjunction with the museum, launched the Norwegian edition on 3 November 2008. It can be ordered through the museum shop in Oslo. The English edition will be published by Thames & Hudson in Spring 2009.

In anticipation of the English version of the Catalogue Raisonné of Edvard Munch’s painted ouvre, the Scandinavian House of New York, in collaboration with the Munch Museum in Oslo, arranged a Munch seminar in New York, NY, last 13-14 November 2008.

This seminar will examine the artist’s career and contributions to European modernism and visual culture. It included lectures by Senior Curator Gerd Woll, Curator Petra Pettersen and Senior Curator Mai Britt Guleng of the Munch Museum in Oslo, Professor Øivind Storm Bjerke of the University of Oslo, Senior Curator Iris Müller-Westermann of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm and Munch scholars from American museums and universities.

(Note: Edvuard Munch is sometimes written as ‘Eduard Munch’ or even ‘Edward Munch’.)

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