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Sittende ung kvinne (seated young woman)
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About the item

Seated Young Woman from 1916 is a remarkable example of Munch's ability to depict human psychology, as well as of his avant-garde style. The model, Frøydis Mjølstad, was first used by the artist in the years 1916-18 and she sat for him again several years later. The artist uses vibrant yellows and fiery red to accentuate the woman's face and lips, whilst the darker blue and purple hues of her dress stand in brilliant contrast which is further enhanced by the bright palette of the background. This domestic scene finds its lineage in the work of artists such as Edgar Degas and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (fig. 1), possessing an emotional intensity unlike any work of his contemporaries. The energetic aura surrounding the female figure is reminiscent of the iconic portrait of the artist's sister, Inger Munch (fig. 2).\nThe sense of voyeurism that pervades the present work is an intentional element for Munch. There is a clear precedent for this not only in the 'keyhole aesthetic' of Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec but also in the work of Caspar David Friedrich and Vilhelm Hammershøi. These artists relished the depiction of intimate moments. When Munch draws upon this lineage in Seated Young Woman, he achieves a spontaneity that contradicts the careful detail of these other masters. The woman here is depicted in a pensive, melancholic moment, caught up in her own thought.\nMunch's works had a strong influence on German Expressionist artists, who had an opportunity to see his paintings in several exhibitions in Germany between 1905 and 1908. The brilliant, wild palette that dominated the artist's canvases as well as his emotional emphasis had a powerful impact on the Brücke artists who were eager to move away from the realistic representation of the outside world and looking for a more expressive response to painting. It was the daring, emotional power of Munch's portraits, pulsating with undulating lines and vivid dramatic brushstrokes that had such a profound effect on some of the major figures of twentieth century art including Kirchner, Schmidt-Rottluff, Pechstein and Jawlensky.\nThe present work was deaccessioned from the Städtische Galerie in Frankfurt in 1937 and subsequently bought by the famous Oslo dealer Harold Holst Halvorsen. He was a great friend of Munch and known for rescuing works out of the hands of the National Socialists. For this very reason the present work was offered in one of Halvorsen's sales in 1939 under the following premise: 'Edvard Munch would like all the paintings [...] to be on loan to possible exhibitions in Paris and London. The pictures will be sold on this condition' (Harald Holst Halvorsens Kunsthandel, Kolleksjonen selges ved Auksjon, Oslo, 23rd January 1939, p. 6, translated from Norwegian). The work was subsequently acquired by Thomas Olsen, the famous Norwegian collector and fervent supporter of the artist, who amognst other masterpieces owned a version of The Scream.\nFIG. 1, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Hélène Vary, 1888, oil on board, Kunsthalle, Bremen\nFIG. 2, Edvard Munch, Inger i svart og fiolett, 1892, oil on canvas, Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, Oslo\nSigned E. Munch and dated 1916 (lower right)
GB
GB
GB

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Edvard Munch

condition

The canvas is unlined and there is no evidence of retouching under ultra-violet light. This work is in excellent original condition. Colours: Overall fairly accurate in the printed catalogue illustration. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

dimensions

136 by 110cm.

exhibition

Copenhagen, Georg Kleis, Edvard Munch, 1917, no. 25 (titled Ung sortklaedt Kvinde) Kristiania, Blomqvist Kunsthandel, Edvard Munch, 1918, no. 32 (titled Ung pike) Gothenburg, Konstföreningen Valand, 1918 (titled Ung sittanda flicka) Frankfurt, Städelschen Kunstinstitut, Vom Abbild zum Sinnbild, 1931, no. 174 (titled Sitzende Dame) Oslo, Kunstnernes Hus, Edvard Munch. Utsetilling malerier, akvareller, tegninger, grafikk, 1951, no. 84 Zurich, Kunsthaus, Edvard Munch, 1952, no. 60 São Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna, Il Bienal, 1953-54, no. 13 Frankfurt, Steinernes Haus, Römerberg, Edvard Munch, 1962-63, no. 49 Schaffhausen, Museum zu Allerheiligen Schaffhausen, Edvard Munch, 1968, no. 77 Kiel, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Edvard Munch. Gemälde und Zeichnungen aus einer norwegischen Privatsammlung, 1979, no. 19, illustrated in colour in the catalogue Stuttgart, Städtische Galerie, ReVision - Die Moderne im Städel 1906-1937, 1991-92, no. 9, illustrated in colour in the catalogue

literature

Ulrich Bischoff, 'Die Rolle Edvard Munchs beim Einzug der Moderne in die deutschen Museen - Anmerkungen zu acht Bildern aus einer norwegischen Privatsammlung' in Pantheon, 1985, mentioned p. 126f Munch und Deutschland (exhibition catalogue), Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Munich, 1994, mentioned p. 113 Gerd Woll, Edvard Munch, Complete Paintings, Catalogue Raisonne 1898-1908, London, 2009, vol. II, no. 1204, illustrated in colour p. 1121

provenance

Städtische Galerie, Frankfurt (acquired in 1927; deaccessioned as 'degenerate art' in 1937, inventory no. 15771) Harold Holst Halvorsen, Oslo (acquired from the German State in 1939. Sold: Harald Holst Halvorsen i Wangs Kunsthandels lokale, Oslo, Edv. Munch malerier og grafiske arbeider fra tyske museer, 16th-23rd January 1939, lot 33) Thomas Olsen, Oslo (purchased at the above sale) Acquired from the estate of the above by the present owner

signedDate

Signed E. Munch and dated 1916 (lower right)

time_period

Painted in 1916.

consignmentDesignation

Property from a Private European Collection

creator_nationality_dates

1863 - 1944





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