This blog serves so many delightful purposes for me. One is that it provides me with a space to simply share a painting that is either a longtime personal favorite or one I just happened upon via my searches. Today I discovered a knockout that impresses me with both the artistic creation and the modeling.
This painting from the great Norwegian artist Edvard Munch is called Model by the Wicker Chair. A work from 1921, it is considered a late period Munch, or the “Post- Scream” era. It refers to the last two decades of the artist’s life when he was living and working at his home in Ekely located in western Oslo. Today this piece hangs in the Munch Museum in Norway. I may never get there, but if I’m ever so lucky I will no doubt make a beeline through that museum to this vivid and intriguing painting.
The model was Annie Fjeldbu, one of many models who posed for Munch in his studio. A young dancer, she clearly knew what she was doing here. Whether the standing pose with bowed head was her idea or Munch’s, Annie presented it perfectly. The strength, stature, and sensuality of her body is evident, and her mane of long dark hair only adds to her natural charisma. Perhaps these qualities were the reason Munch placed her in a cluttered room setting – maybe he sensed that she could dominate the busy scene and hold her own among the objects, colors and splashy loose brush strokes. Annie is, simultaneously, part of and separate from her surroundings. With different views, she can be interpreted as emerging from the environment or receding into it. Or both. Yes, the blanket on the chair is prominent, but in my eyes Annie still wins. Either way, the composition is fascinating.
This is my new favorite painting. Enigmatic, moody, it just works really well overall. Artists help me out here. Why am I so taken with this painting? One sure explanation is that it conveys an authentic feel of model and artist working together, to which I can certainly relate. That’s probably what attracted me to it in the first place and why it elicited such a strong response. I’m so digging this painting! Great job Edvard and Annie.