Important Prints & Multiples Evening Sale

Important Prints & Multiples Evening Sale

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 42. EDVARD MUNCH | VAMPIRE II (SCH. 34; W. 41).


Auction Closed

October 22, 11:11 PM GMT


300,000 - 500,000 USD

Lot Details



1863 - 1944

VAMPIRE II (SCH. 34; W. 41)

Lithograph and woodcut printed in colors, 1895-1902, Woll's VI of X, signed in pencil, on tissue-thin Japan paper, framed

image: 381 by 554 mm 15 by 21¾ in

sheet: 545 by 734 mm 21½ by 28⅞ in

A broken-down man and on his neck a dominant, biting vampire figure... There is something fearfully calm and passionless about this picture; the fatality of an immense resignation. The man rolls in the unfathomable abyss, without will, powerless, and rejoices that he can roll without will, like a stone. But he cannot free himself from the vampire, nor the pain, and the woman will always sit there, and will always bite with a thousand snakes' tongues, with a thousand poisoned fangs.'


The Polish author Stanisław Przybyszewski offered this interpretation of Munch’s oil on canvas portrayal of the Vampire in 1894. In fact, it was Przybyszewski’s evocative observation that inspired the artist to rename the subject. The composition was originally known as Love and Pain, a title that succinctly captured the conflicting motivations – of desire and dread, lust and angst – that lie at the heart of this iconic image.


Munch created his first black and white lithographs of the Vampire in 1895. In a typically experimental and innovative move, the artist later combined woodcut and lithographic elements to create polychrome impressions of the subject. These images are complex and absorbing – both technically and visually. Each impression is also singular: as Elizabeth Prelinger explains, the coloured prints ‘are distinguished by their invention, evocation, and beauty. The printing variations render many impressions unique as well as monumental, reflecting the importance that Munch assigned to them.’ (Prelinger, Edvard Munch: Master Printmaker, p. 111).


The present impression is printed on tissue-thin Japan, which has the effect of holding the ink on the surface of the paper and gives the printing an exceptional consistency, luminosity and richness, setting it apart from other impressions of the subject. This intensity of the inking serves to encapsulate the figures, closing in on them and thus accentuating their inescapable predicament.