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Edvard Munch
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more Dr. Curt Glaser (1879-1943), a renowned art historian and a prominent figure in the artistic and cultural milieu of Berlin in the early decades of the 20th century, was an early champion of Edvard Munch's and the author of one of the first monographs on the artist, published in 1917. In his capacity as Keeper of the Berlin Kupferstichkabinett from 1909 until 1924, he oversaw the formation of the most important collection of Munch prints in Germany, which today encompasses more than 250 impressions, many acquired during Glaser's tenure. Appointed Director of the State Art Library in 1924, he was dismissed by the Nazi government in 1933, and forced to flee the country, auctioning his entire collection to finance his emigration. He left Berlin for Switzerland via Paris in June 1933, before finally settling in the United States with with his second wife Maria (née Milch) in 1941. This impression of Young Girl on the Beach, with Death and the Woman (lot 69), Old Man Praying (lot 72) and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Bauern, plaudernd (lot 43) were all purchased by the Kupferstichkabinett at this forced sale, and have remained in their collection ever since. They were restituted to his heirs in 2012.
Edvard Munch

Young Woman on the Beach (Sch. 42; W. 49III)

Edvard Munch
Young Woman on the Beach (Sch. 42; W. 49III)
aquatint and drypoint with burnishing, printed in pale blue, brown, grey and pink, 1896, on Arches laid paper with a partial watermark, signed in pencil, dedicated a monsieur in pencil (the name erased), a very fine and delicate impression of this rare and important print, Woll's third variant (of seven), probably printed by A. Porcaboeuf at Atelier A. Salmon, Paris, with wide margins, probably the full sheet, with deckle edges on three sides, pale light and mount staining, remains of adhesive and minor skinning at the sheet corners recto, generally in good condition
P. 290 x 220 mm., S. 450 x 311 mm.
Dr. Curt Glaser (1879-1943), Berlin; the forced sale of his collection, Max Perl, Berlin, 18 and 19 May 1933, lot 1105 (estimate 80 M).
Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin (cf. L. 1606), with their acquisition stamp dated 1933 (this stamp not in Lugt), inventory number 28 in pencil; purchased at the above sale; with their de-accession stamp dated 2012 in pencil (not in Lugt).
Restituted to the heirs of Dr. Curt Glaser in 2012.
Gerd Woll, Edvard Munch - The Complete Graphic Work, Philip Wilson Publishers, London, in association with The Munch-Museet, Oslo, 2001, no. 49III (this impression cited and illustrated).
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

'I give her the light summernight's soft beauty - over her I pour
the splendour of the vanishing sun - over her hair - over her
face over her white dress -
shining gold - I place her against the blue of the booming sea -
with the sinuous snake like curves of the shoreline.'

(Edvard Munch, The so-called Moss Ledger, circa 1892-93, quoted in: Bente Torjusen, Words and Images of Edvard Munch, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London, 1989, p. 70).

Edvard Munch first used this figure of a solitary woman standing on a shoreline in a painting of 1891-92 known as The Lonely Ones. Although this early painting has been lost, the significance of the subject was such that he revisited it throughout his life in both painted and printed form. In these versions the woman is accompanied by the figure of a man, who stands apart and slightly behind her. The physical distance between the two figures and their pensive body language suggest lovers who have argued and this the fragile moment where reconciliation is either effected, or love lost. Munch's fraught view of the relationship between the genders is paralleled in the isolated setting in which he places his lovers; the infinite, restless interactions between tide and shoreline a potent metaphor for their mutual need and yet more profound incompatibility.

Young Girl on a Beach is a gentler meditation on loneliness. The man is removed from the scene, and our gaze rests solely on the fragile figure of the girl, lost in a reverie as she looks out to sea. Whereas The Lonely Ones evokes the very particular experience of isolation in human relationships, Young Girl on a Beach is more enigmatic. With her back turned to us she appears calm and composed, her white dress shimmering in the wan light, her hair gently waving in an evening breeze. The absence of any visible horizon emphasizes the enormity of the natural world which surrounds her, heightening our sense of her fragility and of the precariousness of life.

The print was made in Paris in 1896, an intensive period of printmaking in which Munch produced some of his great prints, including a small group of burnished aquatints of which Young Girl on a Beach is the masterpiece. Using zinc plates pre-prepared with aquatint the image was made in the manner of a mezzotint, with delicately modulated highlights scraped into the aquatint with a burnisher. After 1897 Munch never worked in the medium again and his colour aquatints are amongst his rarest and most sought after graphics.

The sense of melancholy which pervades this particular impression is to a great extent the result of its delicate colouration. Young Girl on a Beach exists in eleven known impressions, each of which were inked by hand á la poupée in different shades and colours. Gerd Woll has distinguished seven types of colour variants; loosely defined groupings of impressions demonstrating similarities of colouration and wiping. These variations produce subtle shifts in meaning. In some impressions the girl is bathed in the light of the setting sun, her golden hair set against the deep blue ocean and the gathering twilight. They are evocative of Munch's almost euphoric description in one of his journals from the early 1890's (quoted above) of the creative process in which the artist adorns the loveliness of the girl with the raiment of nature. In others, the mood is more sombre, the twilight deepening and the figure appearing to flicker like a flame, fleeting and temporal before the mystery of the infinite. This exquisite impression is perhaps the most nuanced in effect and subtle in mood.

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