ProvenanceStädtische Galerie, Frankfurt (acquired in 1927; deaccessioned as 'degenerate art' in 1937, inventory no. 15771)
Harald Holst Halvorsen, Oslo (acquired from the German State in 1939)
Sale by Harald Holst Halvorsen at the gallery, Wangs Kunsthandels lokale, Oslo, Edv. Munch malerier og grafiske arbeider fra tyske museer, lot 33, January 16-23, 1939
Thomas Olsen, Oslo (acquired from the above sale) By descent to Petter Olsen Collection Faurschou Foundation (acquired from the above in 2007)
LiteratureJensen, Jens Christian ed. Edvard Munch...More.... Gemälde und Zeichnungen aus einer norwegischen Privatsammlung (exhibition catalogue). Kiel: Kunsthalle zu Kiel, 1979, no. 19, illustrated in colour on 50
Bischoff, Ulrich. “Die Rolle Edvard Munchs beim Einzug der Moderne in die deutschen Museen - Anmerkungen zu acht Bildern aus einer norwegischen Privatsammlung.” Pantheon, 1985, mentioned on 126 f
Gallwitz, Klaus, ed. ReVision - Die Moderne im Städel 1906-1937, Stuttgart 1991-92 (catalogue). Stuttgart: Gerd Hatje Verlag, illustrated on 106. Munch und Deutschland (exhibition catalogue). Munich: Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, 1994, mentioned on 113
Woll, Gerd et al. Edvard Munch. Complete Paintings. Catalogue Raisonne. Volume 3. 1909-1920. London: Thames and Hudson, 2009, fig. 1204, illustrated in colour on 1121 (original Norwegian edition published in Oslo: Cappelen Damm, 2008.)
The severe alcoholism, depression and ensuing emotional breakdown Edvard Munch suffered in Copenhagen in 1908 led to an ever more reclusive life, first in the Norwegian coastal town of Kragerø, and later, at Ekely, the fifty-acre estate he purchased in 1916 on the outskirts of Oslo. He often painted the well-established garden, the surrounding elm forest, the nearby farms and their draft horses whose powerful, labored movements he captured in vigorously brushed strong-hued contrasts of color. Painting outdoors proved therapeutic and lifted his spirits, yet at his core, Munch is a portrait and figurative painter whose intentions are clear: plumb the human condition in all its emotional intensity, unmask its vulnerabilities and powerfully express them.
Ekely, isolated as it was, allowed the neurotic Munch to carefully control social interactions. Female models known to him through friends and acquaintances often came to be participants in his social life — among them, Frøydis Mjølstad, the young sixteen-year-old that came to his Swiss-style villa in 1916 and quietly sat as Munch painted her in one of the newly appointed rooms. With its bright palette, brilliant contrasts, and energetically brushed room of aura-like partitions, Seated Young Woman unapologetically illustrates Munch’s credo that ‘color should be applied emotionally, not realistically.’ It retains much of the same visceral intensity as earlier portraits that had such a profound effect on some of the major figures of twentieth century art including Kirchner, Schmidt-Rottluff, Pechstein and Jawlensky when Munch exhibited on several occasions in Germany between 1905 and 1908. Daringly removed from realistic representation, it is a work intent upon a more expressive approach to painting. — an avant-garde, psychological study fused with his simmering, emotionally charged temperament.
Among the intriguing aspects of its provenance, Harold Holst, the noted Oslo art dealer is credited for saving Seated Young Woman for posterity when he hurriedly acquired the painting in 1937 from Städtische Galerie in Frankfort. Undoubtedly, it would not have survived the purge of art deemed degenerative by rabid German National Socialists. Shortly thereafter, the work was purchased by the Norwegian collector Thomas Olsen, a fervent supporter of the artist who owned a version of The Scream.
Edvard Munch, “The Scream” (1893), National Gallery and Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway
Edvard Munch, unknown date
Edvard Munch, “Self Portrait with the Spanish Flu” 1919, the Metropolitan Museum
The sitter of this painting, Frøydis Mjølstad circa 1925
“Model with Hat and Cloak” 1916-17 (Frøydis Mjølstad, model)
Edvard Munch with brush and palette touching up his canvases at Ekely
PRESTIGIOUS EXHIBITION HISTORY
The prestigious exhibition history of Seated Young Woman includes major art institutions in Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Oslo, Zurich, São Paulo, and many others. Shortly after Munch completed this piece in 1917, it was featured in an exhibition at Blomqvist Kunsthandel in Kristiania (now Oslo), the leading Norwegian auction house which was among the earliest art dealers in Scandinavia. This photo shows Seated Young Woman on display at Blomqvist among a group of several Munch paintings in 1918.