The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Saturday, July 20, 2019

Exceedingly Rare Munch Masterpiece to Highlight Sale at Christie's
Edvard Munch (1863-1945), Fertility, oil on canvas. Estimate: $25,000,000 - 35,000,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2010.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie's announced it will offer Edvard Munch's Fertility (estimate: $25-35 million) - one of the most important works by the artist remaining in private hands - as the cover lot of its upcoming Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on May 4. Painted in the late 1890s, Fertility was originally purchased in 1902 by Dr. Max Linde, the German patron responsible for helping Munch establish his career in Germany. Since 1918, the large-format painting has remained in private collections in Scandinavia, with periodic loans to prestigious museum and gallery exhibitions throughout Europe and the United States. The upcoming sale marks the first occasion that the work has ever been offered at public auction.

Conor Jordan, Head of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie’s New York, comments: “Edvard Munch remains one of the most fascinating and influential artists of the Modern era - a pioneer of the Expressionist movement who sought to explore the deeper, universal truths of the human condition through art. We are delighted to present this exceedingly rare opportunity to acquire a true masterpiece from the most desirable period of Munch’s career. Beyond this painting’s pure aesthetic beauty, its rich, layered narrative, beautifully-worked surface, and remarkable state of preservation all combine to make this a highly sought-after prize for collectors, with recordbreaking potential on auction night.”

At nearly 4 feet high by 4½ feet wide, Fertility is the one of the largest works of Munch's early career. Rendered in verdant greens with rich orange, red, and yellow accents, the painting’s focal point is a lush fruit tree laden with ripe red cherries. A man and woman dressed in rustic work clothes stand facing each other on either side of the tree, creating a tableau reminiscent of Adam and Eve before the Tree of Life. Though the woman’s visible pregnancy and the scene’s lush greenery seem to communicate a theme of regeneration and hope, a fresh wound – as from a newly cut bough – mars the tree trunk between the two figures and lends the scene an ominous, unsettled element.

Painted in the final years of the 1890s, Fertility - alternatively titled Fruitfulness - dates from a period of Munch’s career characterized by remarkable creative output and difficult personal affairs. In 1898, he commenced a relationship with Tulla Larsen, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy wine merchant from Kristiania, as Olso was then called. Unlike Munch, whose father was a devout military doctor, Tulla was part of the moneyed bourgeois class. Their affair was a tumultuous one, and although plans were made for the pair to wed, the relationship came to a violent end in 1902, when an argument led to a self-inflicted gun-shot wound that took off part of a finger on Munch’s left hand. Scholars suggest the red-haired woman depicted in Fertility, and in an earlier, possibly related work Metabolism, is likely Tulla.

A controversial figure whose ground-breaking style was at times harshly received by critics in his native Norway, Munch is now recognized as one of the most important artists of the Modern era. Though he had not yet joined the Expressionist movement at the time he painted Fertility, the work represents a pivotal moment in Munch’s journey toward capturing universal truths in his art. Trips to Paris in 1885 and 1889 and exposure to the innovations of post-impressionist artists like Van Gogh and Gauguin had taught him that art no longer had a role in merely imitating life. Instead, he embraced the idea of exploring pure emotion, without shrinking from the opportunity to expose a tortured soul to examination. This shift from the “impression” that had been the watchword of the as of momentous significance, and Munch was entirely at its forefront.

Demand amongst collectors for works from this profound stretch of Munch’s career continues to grow globally, fueled by the great scarcity of available examples. Few paintings from the 1890s-era still remain in private collections, and the works most closely related to Fertility, including Metabolism and Eye in Eye, are in the permanent collection of the Munch Museum in Oslo. The last significant work from the mid-1890s to come to market, the darkly seductive Vampire, set a new record of $38.1 million at auction in November of 2008.

Christie's | Edvard Munch | Conor Jordan |

Today's News

April 8, 2010

New Presentation of the Modern Collection 1905-1960 on the Fifth Floor of the Pompidou

Steve Tobin Debuts New Steelroots Series at The Morton Arboretum

Exceedingly Rare Munch Masterpiece to Highlight Sale at Christie's

Rediscovered Work by Frida Kahlo to Highlight Christie's Latin American Sale

Exhibition of New Works by Artist Paul Rusconi at Stellan Holm Gallery

Light-Filled Building Opens at North Carolina Museum of Art

Solo Exhibition of New Paintings by Tom McGrath at Sue Scott Gallery

Video and Photography by Almagul Menlibayeva at Priska C. Juschka Fine Art

Nancy Spero's Life and Work to be Commemorated in New York

Mervyn Peake Archive Acquired for British Library with Help from Art Fund

Four British Abstract Painters Exhibit at Kusseneers Gallery

Unique Hand-Coloured Munch Madonna to Make 700,000 at Bonhams

Art Gallery of Ontario Appoints Bernita Kiefte as Marketing Director

Japanese Photographer Yoshihiko Ueda's Work on View at Michael Hoppen Contemporary

Portrait of Michael Jackson Up for Auction Online

Art 41 Basel Announces Art Statements: Solo Shows by Emerging Artists

Singapore Art Museum Honors One of Indonesia's Foremost Contemporary Artists

Jupiter Artland New Sculpture Commissions: Details Announced

Barking Water by Native American Director Sterlin Harjo Has a Weeklong Run at MoMA

FBI Returns Paintings to Peru

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Original 'Star Wars' creators lift lid on special effects challenges

2.- Lost '$170 million Caravaggio' snapped up before French auction

3.- Mansell's 'Red Five' on pole for Bonhams sale

4.- Impressionism's 'forgotten woman' shines in new Paris show

5.- Sotheby's to auction the best-surviving NASA videotape recordings of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

6.- Exhibition explores Dutch and Spanish painting of the 16th and 17th centuries

7.- Cyprus discovers 'first undisturbed Roman shipwreck'

8.- Sotheby's unveils 'Treasures from Chatsworth' with Leonardo Da Vinci drawing, Lucian Freud portraits, and more

9.- Infamous botched art restoration in Spain gets makeover

10.- 1958 Gibson Flying V Korina played by Dave Davies to grab center stage in Heritage Auctions' sale

Related Stories

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

Christie's New York wraps 2012 with over $163 million in jewelry auction sales

Christie's sale of masterpieces formerly in the Collection of Monsieur and Madame Riahi realises $31.9 M

Christie's presents a week-long series of auctions devoted to magnificent jewels, watches, wine and design

Christie's Launches Spring 2011 Season of Post-War and Contemporary Art with First Open

Most Important Peploe Ever to Come to Auction Leads Scottish Colourist Paintings at Christie's

Extravagant Official Publishing Entreprise Leads Christie's Auction of Books and Manuscripts

Christie's Celebrates American Artistry and Craftsmanship with Exceptional Offerings

Christie's International Leads the Market for Watches in Europe, Asia, and the America's

Important 20th Century Decorative Art and Design Works Shine at Christie's New York

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful