Preserving a Master: Edvard Munch and His Painted Sketches

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Erika Gohde Sandbakken Eva Storevik Tveit

Abstract

This paper will give an overview of challenges encountered by the paintings conservatorsat the Munch Museum in Oslo. The collection contains world-famousartworks. Munch’s paintings are often requested for exhibition loans and manytravel all round the world. A great deal of the work required of us is linked withsuch loans. However, the museum also owns approximately 150 canvas sketches,which are even more in need of conservation. Most of them were painted in theperiod 1909–16; the largest measures up to 5 x 11.5 metres. Munch painted andstored many of them outdoors for years; approximately 51 have been stored onrolls since Munch’s day. His handling and painting techniques and storage haveled to extreme deterioration of the sketches and from 2006–12 extensive conservationhas been conducted. The main challenges were concentrated on the consolidationof considerable areas of unstable paint, but soiling, water damages, saltef"orescence etc. were also attended to.

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