Munch’s paintings still highly lucrative


When Edvard Munch began his career as an artist, he could not earn a living from his paintings, but this all changed when he started to exhibit his earlier works next to his later ones.

“He considered his paintings as his children and therefore he was only willing to sell them at high prices,” Angela Lampe, the curator of the Munch exhibition at the London Tate Modern (June 2012), told me. During his lifetime he pushed the prices for his art works higher in order to earn a living, and even today the prices for his works are pushed. This has led to that The Scream reached a new world-record level in spring 2012. However, the latest record-price had not much to do with Munch’s entrepreneurial skills but was triggered off by two people bidding passionately for 12 minutes.

During his lifetime people became highly interested in his work when they could see the difference between the “young artist” and the “new Munch”. He showed his works such as Vampire and Vampire in the Forest. The two paintings, shown in the same room, as it is currently the case at the Tate Modern in London, depict how his approach to the theme had changed over time. His first painting shows a female vampire biting a man and in the background nothing but night’s darkness.

This version of the painting is from 1893/94 and depicts an inner conflict. He was probably still struggling with the impact his mother’s and beloved sister’s death had on his life. Both had died from tuberculosis when he was a child. Notably, he produced a series of painting such as Vampires, Puberty, The Kiss, Ashes and also the world-famous painting The Scream in the same year.

23 years later, when he had started to occupy himself again with the Vampire theme, he painted the exact two vampires again – but at this time with a light pastel-coloured background showing an empty forest.

An interesting video about his art (Vienna showed Munch’s paintings in 2009 as part of an exhibition showing movements) 

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