Edvard Munch - Loslösung II (Separation II) - image-1

Lot 251 Dα

Edvard Munch - Loslösung II (Separation II)

Auction 1134 - overview Cologne
31.05.2019, 17:00 - Modern Art
Estimate: 40.000 € - 60.000 €
Result: 49.600 € (incl. premium)

Edvard Munch

Loslösung II (Separation II)

Lithograph on fine Japan laid paper 41.4 x 64.2 cm (48 x 66 cm) Framed under glass. Signed 'E Munch' in pencil lower right. - The uncut sheet minimally browned especially towards the margins. A singular brownish stain in the lower margin and isolated traces of former mounting in the upper margin pushing through to recto.

In his painting, Edvard Munch had been occupying himself with the fundamental questions of human existence since the early 1890s, for example, in the series of works which would achieve particular fame under the title chosen by Munch, the “Frieze of Life”. The painting “Separation”, which is closely related to our lithograph in terms of its motif, was also created in 1896 and belongs to this group of works: this painting is now in Oslo's Munch Museum (cf. Woll Paintings 393, see comparative illus.).
With “Separation II”, Munch evocatively captures the moment of a pair of lovers' parting: a woman dressed in light-coloured clothes looks out at the open sea from the beach and, in doing so, turns away from a darkly dressed man who looks down at the ground. In this context the woman's long hair takes on central significance as a connecting element embodying her last contact with her male companion. Munch took up this poetic and simultaneously very personal metaphor of parting multiple times in his work: “I felt as though there were invisible threads between us - I felt how invisible threads of her hair were still wrapped around me - and thus when she completely disappeared across the sea - I still felt them, it hurt in the place where my heart was bleeding - because the threads could not be broken.” (cited in: Edvard Munch: Liebe, Angst, Tod, exhib. cat. Bielefeld/Krefeld/Kaiserslautern 1980/1981, p. 91).
Our large-format work is one of a number of prints that Munch created during his stay in Paris from 1896 to 1897. As in his paintings, the artist also became intensely engaged with fundamental aspects of life in his prints: with fear, death, becoming and decline and not least with love. Along with “Separation II” he created the lithographs “Attraction I and II”, “The Flower of Love”, “Sea of Love”, “Jealousy I and II” and “Separation I” (Woll 75, 76, 80, 81, 68, 69 and 77).
In addition to the dramatic chiaroscuro, it is primarily the deeply dark blue of our sheet's printing which helps the tragic melancholy of the motif of separation achieve its impressive power.

Catalogue Raisonné

Woll 78 I; Schiefler 68 a


We would like to thank Ute Kuhlemann Falck, Munch Museum Oslo, for scientific advice.


Private possession, Rhineland