Blond og mørk aktmodell /Blonde and Dark-Haired Nudes, 1902-03
Harald Holst Halvorsen, Oslo, before 1951.
Fritz and Peter Nathan, Zürich.
E. Simon, Erlenbach.
Anon. sale; Christies, London, 27 June 1988, lot 42.
Private Collection, United Kingdom, acquired at the above sale.
C. Glaser, Edvard Munch, Berlin, 1922, p. 172.
J. Thiis, Edvard Munch og hans samtid. Slekten, live tog kunsten. Geniet, Oslo, 1933, p. 273 (illus.)
H.H. Halvorsen, Endel av Edv. Munchs kunstverker, som jeg har samlet, og for de flestes vedkommende dessverre også solgt igen fra 1915 – 1950 (Some of Edv . Munch’s art works, which I have collected, and in most cases unfortunately also sold again from 1915 – 1950), Oslo, 1952.
V. von W. Wartmann, Edvard Munch, 1863 – 1944, exh. cat., Kunsthaus, Zürich, 1952, no. 31.
E. Rathke, Edvard Munch, exh. cat., Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main, 1962, no. 32.
Munch/Nolde; the relationship of their art: oils, watercolours, drawings and graphics, exh. cat., Marlborough Gallery, London, 1969, p. 12, no. 9 (illus. in colour p. 26).
D. E. Gordon, Modern Art Exhibitions 1900-1916, Munich, 1974, vol. I, no. 859 (illus. p. 206, fig. 859).
G. Woll,Edvard Munch: Complete Paintings, Catalogue raisonné, Oslo, 2008, Vol 2., p. 550, no. 512 (illus. in colour).
Kristiania, Diromalokalet, En blond o gen mørk Pige, 1904, no. 26.
Hamburg, Galerie Commeter, exhibition opened 7 March 1906 (as Zwei Weibl), no. 58.
Mannheim, Kunstverein Mannheim, 2 Frauenportraits Köpfe, Sept. 1908, no. 68; this exhibition later travelled to Cologne, Sonderausstellung Kunstverein, Dec. 1908.
Bremen, Kunsthalle Bremen, Zwei weibliche Akte, Feb. – March 1909, no. 1138.
Vienna, Künstlerbund Hagen, Norweigische Künstler, 1912, no. 1 (‘Blond und Schwarz’).
Zürich, Kunsthaus, Edvard Munch, 1863 – 1944, 22 June – 17 Aug. 1952, no. 31.
Frankfurt am Main, Steinernes Haus, Edvard Munch, 9 Nov. 1962 – 6 Jan. 1963, no. 32.
Schaffhausen, Museum Allerheiligen, Edvard Munch, 30 Feb. – 9 June 1968, no. 35.
London, Marlborough Gallery, Munch/Nolde; the relationship of their art: oils, watercolours, drawings and graphics, July – Aug. 1969, no. 9.
The models in this painting, one brunette and one a reddish-blonde, seem to have been favourites of Edvard Munch’s, as they feature in several other paintings dating from the same years. They appear, for instance, in To stående akter ved kommoden / Two Nudes Standing by a Chest of Drawers (fig.1; Westfälisches Landesmuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Münster, Germany) and again in Dobbeltaket / Two Nudes (fig.2; Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo). All three works employ a similar palette of flesh tones heightened with contrasting hues, and in each, the models’ hair is pinned up in a similar style.
Munch had a complex relationship with women. They appear in his art in various guises: Madonna, vampire, seductress. In 1899, he began a relationship with a woman named Tulla Larsen, which lasted for a year, until he broke off the attachment when she wished to be wed. Munch never married; he believed that his drinking, poor health, and nerves made him an unsuitable candidate for such a permanent arrangement. Nevertheless, when Tulla went on to marry someone else, Munch took this as a betrayal, and marshalled his feelings of bitterness and rejection as fuel for his art.
Munch’s use of colour and the gestural and vigorous brushstrokes in this work are indicative of his increasing reliance on Fauvist and Expressionistic techniques. We can see here how he has exaggerated and distorted the colours of the women’s skin to achieve a greater intensity. A few years later, in 1906, Munch was invited to exhibit with the Fauvists at the Salon d’Automne in Paris, alongside artists such as Derain and Van Dongen. (The term “Fauve” had been coined at the Salon d’Automne the previous year. It was at this point that critics first disparaged the group of stridently colourful, emotionally-charged canvases as the work of “wild beasts”.)
The expressive quality of his brushstrokes, and the scratches on the surface of the canvas highlighting the hair of the woman on the right, are typical of the artist’s modern approach to painting.