The exhibition in Berlin opened on Nov. 5, 1892, and at once Munch's paintings became the center of a bitter controversy. At a stage of taste where Impressionism and the work of Manet were still matters of debate Munch drew attacks as a disgrace to art, and a demand was made within the Artists' Union itself that the exhibition be closed.
This actually took place a week after the opening, over the protest of a considerable minority of the members of the Union. This minority, under the leadership of Max Liebermann, the Impressionist, subsequently withdrew to found its own association, the Berlin Secession, through whose exhibitions the victory of Impressionism was won, and-- around the turn of the century--the first recognition achieved in Germany of the significance of the Post-Impressionist French painters.
Munch, urged by Normann, had come to Berlin, with his pictures. Now he found himself the center of a battle between factions of German artists and a subject of discussion in the press. The whole affair seemed exciting and advantageous. He wrote to his aunt that 'all this uproar was great fun' and that there could not be better publicity. An art dealer approached him while the exhibition was still open with a proposal to exhibit the paintings in Düsseldorf and Cologne. Almost as soon as he had agreed Munch realized that he had made a mistake; an immediate independent exhibition in Berlin would have been more profitable. This Berlin exhibition did take place in January and admission receipts were good, but profits were low because of high expenses. Afterward the paintings went to Copenhagen, Breslau, Dresden and in June to Munich. Munch stayed in Germany all this time, occupied with these exhibitions, making new friends in Berlin and painting vigorously.
This first long stay in Berlin was decisive for Munch. From 1892. until 1908, with returns to Norway in the summer and two winters in Paris, the greater part of his time was spent in Germany. From the beginning Munch found understanding critics and friends and finally important patrons and collectors of his art. Year after year he continued the campaign of exhibitions, with Copenhagen usually included with the German cities. The financial returns were irregular and meager during the first years in spite of the fact that his paintings were being shown continually.
It was only after 1900 that a steady income from sales began. Munch never forgot that it was in Germany that he won recognition and success. He intended, until political events made him change, to acknowledge the debt by willing a painting to the National Gallery of Berlin. During the first years it was the hope of success and his stimulating circle of friends and companions that brought him back to Berlin after summers in Norway. He found his circle early. In January of the first winter he wrote his sister Inger, 'We Scandinavians, Strindberg, Gunnar Heiberg, Drachmann and I are almost continually together and meet in a little wine house.' This was the restaurant 'Zum Schwarzen Ferkel' which had been discovered by Strindberg and is well known to students of literature. Munch had joined a new Bohemia, more brilliant and sophisticated, but also more unstable than that of the earlier days in Oslo.
It was even more dominated by literary men and critics than the Norwegian group. There were German members as well as the Scandinavians Munch named, Dehmel, the poet, and the critic Meier-Graefe; but closest to Munch as a friend was the Polish poet and novelist Stanislas Przybyszewski, who in 1893 married a young Norwegian , Dagny Juell, who was herself a remarkable person. It seems that Munch saw little of German painters. Munch's new circle was part of the advance guard of literature, completely cognizant of what was going on in the rest of Europe. The intellectual environment was created by the ideas of writers with philosophic tendencies. Individuals held the various notions of the fin de siècle from the extreme of mysticism and occultism to the pessimism of deterministic science. Subjective and abstract thinking had taken the place of the simple old anarchism and realism of the Christiania Bohemia of the eighties.
Edvard Munch, Impressionism, Edvard Munch Biography, Munch Paintings, Munch Drawings, The Scream, Ash 1894, Bathing Man, Mermaid on the Shore, The Murderer, Separation, The Dance of Life, Madeban Auf Dem Pier, Jealousy, Young Girl on a Jetty, The Girls on the Pier, Four Girls on a Bridge, The Kiss, Girl with Red Hair, Lady From the Sea, Madonna 1895, Portrait of Madame Cézanne, Summer Night at the Beach, Girl on a Bridge, Summer Night at Asgarstrand, Vampire, White and Red, Madonna 1894, Bathing Man, The Sun, Moonlight
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