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Sothebys Auction

The Happiest Time of Munch’s Life

Sothebys Auction

Restored by the son of one of Edvard Munch’s greatest patrons, the Norwegian artist’s idyllic summer estate on the Kristiania fjord was the setting for some of his most mystical works.

“I have bought the villa Nedre Ramme,” wrote Edvard Munch to his cousin Ludvig Ravensberg in 1910. The summer house, situated some 40 kilometers from Oslo (then Kristiania), was situated on a private cove near the idyllic harbor village of Hvitsten. Munch rhapsodized that it was “surrounded by woods and a large garden with 600 meters of coastline – it is the most beautiful property by the Kristiania fjord.” That beauty now informs an exhibition of the artist’s works on paper staged at the very heart of Munch’s haven.

Ramme is a place of pilgrimage for lovers of Munch’s work and anyone interested in his storied life. Today, Petter Olsen, the son of Thomas Fredrik Olsen, one of Munch’s greatest patrons, owns the estate and has revitalized an area that was, a century ago, a focal point for artistic activity. With the proceeds from the sale of a pastel version of The Scream at Sotheby’s in 2012, Olsen built the sumptuous Ramme Fjordhotell in the middle of the woodland and meticulously restored Munch’s summerhouse by the water.

A powerful and vibrant painting, offered during the Modern Evening Auction this May, speaks of Munch’s emotional attachment to the Oslo Fjord. Fjordlandskap from the Olsen Collection captures the trees, rocks and water of his emotional harbor in expressive strokes of greens and blues. Painted on the shoreline at Hvitsten circa 1918, it delivers the feeling of nature in paint. He later depicted his models as naked as winter birches on this stage. Here, however, we find the summer branches dressed in their finest yellow foliage. Munch depicts new growth.

By Christian House | May 7, 2024

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  • Edvard Munch, Fjordlandskap (circa 1918). Oil on canvas, 22 ¾ x 33 ½ inches. Estimate: $1-1.5 million
    Edvard Munch, Fjordlandskap (circa 1918). Oil on canvas, 22 ¾ x 33 ½ inches. Estimate: $1-1.5 million
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus