Edvard Munch specialists. Norwegian Fine Art.

Finished
The Annual Norwegian Edvard Munch Sale 2013, part 2

Auction Thursday December 12 2013 at 15:00

Munch, Edvard (1863-1944)
The Kiss IV

Colour woodcut printed in black and grey on thin Japan paper

Sheet: 504-506x481 mm Image: 470x473 mm
Signed in pencil lower right: E. Munch
1902
Woll 204 III 1.

Auctioned Thursday December 12 2013 at 15:00

Estimate
NOK 700,000–900,000

Hammer price NOK 860,000

LITERATURE: Magne Bruteig: Munch ??? Drawings, Oslo 2004.
Gerd Woll: Edvard Munch ??? The complete graphic Works, Oslo 2012, cat.no. 204 III.
Trine Nordkvelle: «Reading the Repeated Kiss. A Narratological Experiment», Munch 150. Edvard Munch 1863-1944. Marking of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch, exhibition catalogue the Nasjonalgalleriet and the Munch-museet, Oslo, 2 June-13 October 2013, p. 264-271.

Woll???s cat.no. 204 The Kiss IV in this state, III, is described among other things as follows, after having stated that the woodblock is made of spruce:
Printed from the figures and an untreated colour block. The colour block has a vertical wood grain and a characteristic oval knot in the wood on one side.
At III 1), it says as follows:
Printed with the knot in the wood on the right side of the print, which is the most common version of this woodcut. Woll 2012, p. 200.

The kiss is a motif that follows Munch through practically his entire artistic career, from the first pencil sketch in 1889-90 ??? to the last graphic version of ???Kiss in the fields??? in 1943. This is a perfect example of the artist???s constant reworking of his material towards greater simplicity and succinctness that we also see in other areas of his art, but seldom with such clarity and consistency as here (fig. 14). Bruteig, p. 60.
Fig. 14 is the woodcut The Kiss IV from 1902, Woll 204 III.

At first he depicts the couple in an interior with a window, then he removes the window and lets the couple be emerged by lines like an aura, then he lets the couple seemingly float weightlessly in space with a diffuse background as if they are in nature, or is part of nature with the use of the background he creates with the structure of the woodblock. Then he lets the wood???s structure solely be part of the background:

The formulation of the kiss motif in four different woodcut versions is often selected as an example of increasing abstraction in Munch???s idiom. The change of the couple???s surroundings from a recognizable room to an abstract universe can in this respect be regarded as the very climax in the great narrative of ???The Kiss???. ???
We reach the evolutionary «grand finale» in several impressions of «The Kiss IV» (cat. 269 (the woodcut from 1902, Woll 204 III)), where a spruce colour block featuring a characteristic knot is used to make the couple???s background. This twist adds a particularly decorative effect to the flat surface. Nordkvelle, p. 269-270.