Woll records another impression of this subject printed without the border on thin japan paper also signed and inscribed verso.
Edvard Munch's Madonna is one of his most famous and challenging works and has caused much controversy ever since it was first seen by the public. The work illustrates perfectly Munch's fascination with life and death, desire and fear. Although the title suggests a religious theme, it is understood that Munch portrays Madonna at the time of conception and the viewer is taking the place of her lover. However, Munch was less interested in the biological act of unity rather than what he saw as the spiritual culmination of life and death.
Madonna is a great example of Munch's work as it shows how he created images and themes which he would later re-visit to develop and re-work in a different medium and with different colour combinations. Munch created various painted and drawn versions of Madonna from as early as 1893. An etching with the same title from 1894 (Woll 11) is his first translation of the subject into a print medium and it was then further developed in 1895 into the black and white lithograph. Although the monochrome image is hugely powerful, Munch developed the image even further in 1902 when he created colour stones at the workshop of Lassally in Berlin, the same years he created a colour version of Vampire (also in this sale lot 20). He first added the colour stone for the red halo, then transferred the texture of a piece of wood or fabric onto a stone to create the subtle blue background colour. In the fourth state, as shown in our example, he added a light olive-green tone for the torso.
The beautiful and complex image of the Madonna is a brilliant example to highlight Munch's unique and creative work as a printmaker.
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