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Edvard Munch (1863-1945)
PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Edvard Munch (1863-1945)

Vampire II

Details
Edvard Munch (1863-1945) Vampire II signed in pencil 'Edv Munch' (lower right) lithograph and woodcut in colours, 1895-1902, a fine, velvety impression of the sixth state, the lithographic keystone printed in black, the second stone in orange, the sawn woodblock in ochre, dark blue and petrol green, on fine white oriental paper. Image size: 385 x 552 mm. Sheet size: 428 x 600 mm.
Literature
G. Schiefler, Verzeichnis des Graphischen Werks Edvard Munchs bis 1906, Oslo, 1974, no. 34, pp. 51-52 (another impression illustrated). G. Woll, Edvard Munch: The Complete Graphic Works, New York, 2001, no. 41, pp. 73-74 (other versions illustrated).
E. Prelinger, M. Parke-Taylor, The Symbolist Prints of Edvard Munch - The Vivian and David Campbell Collection, exh. cat., New Haven and London, 1996, no. 18, pp. 105-111 (other impressions and versions illustrated).

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Lot Essay

'He sat with his arm around her body. Her head was so near to him. It seemed so remarkable to have her eyes, her mouth, her breasts so near to him.
And he laid his head between her breasts. He felt her blood stream through her veins. He listened to the beat of her heart. He buried his face in her lap. She lowered her head down on him and he felt two warm, burning lips on his neck. A shudder passed through his body, a shudder of voluptuousness. And he pressed her compulsively to him.'
Edvard Munch, MS, MM T 2771, cited in Reinhold Heller, Munch: His Life and Work, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1984, p.129

Vampyr is one of the most technically complex and artistically important motifs in the artist's entire oeuvre. First executed in oil, as part of Munch's Frieze of Life, the image was initially entitled Love and Pain. The title by which it has come to be known was subsequently applied not by the artist, but his perceptive critic Stanislaw Przybyszewski, who saw it exhibited in 1893. Its importance can be gauged by the fact that it was hung as a pendant to his iconic Madonna.

Whilst the earliest versions, dating from 1895, were executed in black and white it is clear that Munch always saw this as a colour work. He spent seven years developing his ideas, applying gouache and watercolour to a range of monochrome impressions until, in 1902, he concluded his investigations with a period of intense experimentation with both woodblocks and lithographic stones:

'...the artist ceaselessly experimented with the order in which he printed the stones and the block sections. The result was a constantly shifting image, one in which the artist manipulated the different areas in order to alter the appearance and meaning of the scene....Though each impression stands on its own, representing a different facet of Symbolist meaning, ideally one would view them all together, not unlike Claude Monet's series paintings of haystacks or the façade of Rouen Cathedral. The Vampyre images exhibit the extraordinary scope of Munch's technical creativity and remain endlessly suggestive.'
Elizabeth Prelinger and Michael Parke-Taylor, The Symbolist Prints of Edvard Munch, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1996, p.111.

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