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)
Puberty

Intaglio print printed in black on heavy cream wove

Sheet: 442x314 mm Image: 185x150 mm
Unsigned
Printer's signature in pencil lower left: O Felsing Berlin gdr.
1902
Woll 186 a).

Auctioned Thursday December 12 2013 at 15:00

Estimate
NOK 80,000–100,000

Hammer price NOK 140,000

LITERATURE: Arne Eggum: Edvard Munch. Paintings ??? sketches and studies, Oslo 1984, 2. Ed. 1986.
Gerd Woll: Edvard Munch Complete Paintings, London 2009.
Gerd Woll: Edvard Munch ??? The complete graphic Works, Oslo 2012, cat.no 186.

At Woll 346, the different versions of the motif ???Puberty??? are mentioned:

The first version of the subject was painted around 1886, but it was destroyed in a fire, reportedly in the lodgings of its owner (see cat.no. 141). In addition to cat.no. 347 Munch painted a new version several years later, cat.no 773 ((Sic!), the correct no. is 1097, see Woll 2008). He also repeated the subject in one of his very first lithographs (Woll 14) and in an etching in 1902 (Woll 186). Woll 2009, p. 331.

At cat.no. 141, Woll refers to a letter by Edvard Munch to this owner from 1929, where Munch himself describes the subject: «-the girl sitting just as in the gallery???s, and with the large dark shadow on the wall ??? Hands between the knees as though in modesty. She is sitting in the middle of the bed». (Munch with ???the gallery???s???, refers to the version the National Gallery in Kristiania acquired in 1909, Woll 347). Woll 2009, p. 156.

The shadow in the subject «Puberty» is dominating. As Eggum says about Munch???s signs in general and in one of the versions of ???Puberty??? (Woll 346) especially:

In his striving to convey these «most subtle visions of the soul???, Munch produces a set of established pictorial signs and symbols which he uses to suggest strong and often composite feelings. A fascinating pictorial sign of this kind, and one that is often used, is the moon with its lunar column. ???
Another crucial sign, ??? is shadow: this may be grafted onto a human figure, or a group of persons, constituting an emotional entity. ???
A shadow can also function as though it were an independent individual, as we can see in ???Puberty???. It often adds to the individual motif a feeling of something numbing, oppressive, or menacing. As a technical effect shadow can also be used to express a feeling of fear. Eggum, p. 121-122.