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OSLO 12 Dec 2013 The Scream artist born 150 years ago

Edvard Munch would turn 150 on Dec 12 if he were still alive, and the birthday turns a spotlight on a row over suitable housing for the collectio

December 12, 2013 - NULL

OSLO 12 Dec 2013 The Scream artist born 150 years ago

Edvard Munch would turn 150 on Dec 12 if he were still alive, and the birthday turns a spotlight on a row over suitable housing for the collection of 1,100 paintings, 3,000 drawings and 18,000 etchings that the artist bequeathed to the capital of his native Norway. The dispute reflects the gap between the appeal in his native land of the artist best known for The Scream -- one of the most recognizable works in the history of art and one of the most coveted by thieves -- and his international

OSLO 12 Dec 2013 The Scream artist born 150 years ago

Edvard Munch would turn 150 on Dec 12 if he were still alive, and the birthday turns a spotlight on a row over suitable housing for the collection of 1,100 paintings, 3,000 drawings and 18,000 etchings that the artist bequeathed to the capital of his native Norway. The dispute reflects the gap between the appeal in his native land of the artist best known for The Scream -- one of the most recognizable works in the history of art and one of the most coveted by thieves -- and his international appeal. The art work depicts melancholy and anxiety in nature and in humankind. One of the four versions of the image fetched US $120 million at Sotheby's in 2012, making it the most expensive work of art to ever sell at auction.

AFP notes that one million people recently visited a Munch exhibit that toured Paris, Frankfurt and London. By comparison, the Munch Museum in Oslo attracts around 126,000 visitors per year, even though it owns two versions of The Scream.

The current Munch Museum, constructed cheaply after World War II, is situated in a rundown Oslo neighborhood and does not do justice to the priceless Munch oeuvre, according to AFP. The Oslo city council agrees that a more appropriate museum is needed but can't agree on the options, which include space for Munch in the national gallery, total renovation of the existing Munch Museum or a new building. A 2008 agreement to build a new museum near the opera house has fallen by the wayside.

Munch died in 1944. AFP also notes that Munch features on Norway's highest-value banknote of 1,000 kroner, but that his legacy has been mistreated in his country. Oslo demolished the home he left to the city in his will and turned part of the land into a parking lot in 1960.

He remains a popular target for thieves: two versions of The Scream were stolen in 1994 and 2004. Both paintings have been recovered. (WRITTEN DEC 2012)

RELATED READING:

Squabbles over Munch museum enough to make one scream (AFP/ACN 26 Dec 2012)
http://acn.liveauctioneers.com/index.php/features/art-design/8867-squabbles-over-munch-museum-enough-to-make-one-scream#ixzz2GDYnA7yy

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Date written/update: 2013-12-12