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)
Richard Strauss

Lithograph printed in black on medium thin cream wove

Sheet: 478x329 mm Image: 317x215 mm
Signed in pencil lower right: Edv Munch
Annotated by the printer in pencil lower left: "Forsöks tryk 7. 10/3 -1917. 41-68"
Printed by Nielsen.
1917
Woll 607.

Auctioned Thursday December 12 2013 at 15:00

Estimate
NOK 20,000–30,000

Hammer price NOK 30,000

LITERATURE: Arvid O. Vollsnes: Universitetets Aula Glimt fra et 100-årig mangfoldig musikkliv (the Oslo University Festival Hall. Flashes from a 100 years of versatile musical life), utgitt i forbindelse med Universitetets 200-års jubileum (published in connection to the University???s 200-year???s Jubilee), Oslo 2011.
Gerd Woll: Edvard Munch ??? The complete graphic Works, Oslo 2012, cat.no. 607.
The Munch-museet on Edvard Munch???s meeting with Richard Strauss, www.munchmuseet.no.
Wikipedia about the composer Richard Strauss.
Geir Rakvaag: «Midt i musikken (In the middle of music)», Tine Thing Helseth???s Festival, Tine@Munch, in the Munch-museet 7-9 June 2013 in the year of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch, Dagsavisen, 4 June 2013.

This print by Edvard Munch is relatively rare. There are only nine impressions in public possession. This total amount is often an indication of how many there are in private possession, approximately the same number. Calculating from what Woll indicates, there are at least eleven in private possession. Edvard Munch had his prints printed before numbering of the impressions became the ordinary thing to do, so it???s impossible to know exactly how many there are of each print. This impression of the print is also rare as it is one of the trial proofs. Woll says that there are at least four trial proofs from 10/3 1917. This is number 7, so it is not an impression that has been registered by the Munch-museet, but because Woll says there are at least four, the museum has been aware, that there are more impressions from that date. The date, I think, must be wrong, something I will return to! It says moreover, that there are at least 14 from 17/7 1917 of the same motif, and here it doesn???t say trial proofs, so that is probably the main edition.

Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was a German composer during the Late Romantic and Early Modern Era. He had no relationship to the Strauss-composers in Vienna. Strauss???s music is for the most part typically Romantic. It is in principle tonal and with a pronounced melodic structure. It is however, also characterized by the composer???s specific expressionistic tonal language, with advanced harmonies and innovative use of dissonance. It seems as if Munch???s idiom with its expressionistic tendencies would appeal to Strauss, and it did.
In September 1916 the opening of the University Festival Hall with Munch???s paintings was a fact. Now the Festival Hall could be used for lectures and concerts in its new and shining glory. The impresario Rudolf (Rulle) Rasmussen, who knew Munch, worked to get Richard Strauss to Oslo to hold a concert in the Festival Hall, and he managed, even though it was bitterly cold in March of 1917. Strauss came to accompany on grand piano to his songs, the German-Romanian tenor Rudolf Steiner. The 17 and 18 March 1917 the concerts, or the romance evenings, were held. Strauss had immediately after having entered the Hall become very impressed by Munch's paintings on all walls, he exclaimed: «Aber Gott im Himmel! Was ist das für herrliche Gemälde!» (But God in Heaven! What are they, these wonderful pictures!) He put on his pince-nez and seemed almost to concentrate more on the paintings than on the concert.
As Vollsnes says:

Strauss was completely enchanted by Munch???s paintings, he became bereft of speech and could hardly take his eyes from them, even while playing. S. 8.

The day after, 19 March, the impresario Rulle Rasmussen got Munch to come, so that he could meet Strauss. That day, Munch drew a portrait of him. It is this portrait Munch had made as a lithograph.
Richard Strauss held Munch to be one of the world???s most important painters, and he mentioned Munch in the same breath as Rembrandt.

There were many arrangements in connection to the exhibitions in the Nasjonalgalleriet and the Munch-museet «Munch 150», which were held from 2 June to 13 October 2013, in this year of anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch. The Nasjonalgalleriet presented the period 1882 to 1903 and the Munch-museet the period 1904 to 1944. Tine Thing Helseth, our well-known trumpeter, played at the official opening of the exhibitions at the Munch-museet 2 June. She was to have her own festival at the same place a few days later, and in connection with that, she was interviewed by Dagsavisen.
Tine Thing Helseth declared concerning her own festival: «I have read more and more about Munch. At first I thought it would be very gloomy, with a lot of angst and death, but there are also a lot of delightful contrasts, with women and love. Munch had many friends and adherents, but at the same time he was lonely. Some of the music we play has themes of love, death, loneliness and insecurity. One of the concerts is called « Munch???s want list for a concert???, where we play music he might have heard and enjoyed. Edvard Munch may have known many composers, and one of the composers he certainly met was Richard Strauss. Strauss came to Oslo, saw ???The Sun??? in the Festival Hall and exclaimed: ???that???s how I want my music to be???. Rakvaag.

Because Munch drew Strauss 19 March 1917, the printer Nielsen must have noted the wrong date on the trial proofs of 10/3 1917. They can???t be that early. Ought the date to have been either 10/4, 10/5, 10/6 or 10/7? Is the date 10/7, a bit illegibly written? Probably the trial proofs are not later because there are impressions with another date 17/7 1917, which are not indicated as being trial proofs.