EXCEEDINGLY RARE 1890s MUNCH MASTERPIECE TO HIGHLIGHT MAY 4 EVENING SALE AT CHRISTIE'S NEW YORK NEVER BEFORE OFFERED AT AUCTION, "FERTILITY" IS ONE OF ONLY A FEW MASTER WORKS BY MUNCH LEFT IN PRIVATE HANDS
whose ground-breaking style was at times harshly received by critics in his
native Norway, Munch is now recognized as one of the most important artists of the Modern era.
Though he had not yet joined the Expressionist movement at the time he painted Fertility, the work
represents a pivotal moment in Munch’s journey toward capturing universal truths in his art. Trips
to Paris in 1885 and 1889 and exposure to the innovations of post-impressionist artists like Van
Gogh and Gauguin had taught him that art no longer had a role in merely imitating life. Instead, he
embraced the idea of exploring pure emotion, without shrinking from the opportunity to expose a
tortured soul to examination. This shift from the “impression” that had been the watchword of the
previous generation of the avant-garde to the power of “expression” for the generation of the 1890s
was of momentous significance, and Munch was entirely at its forefront.
Demand amongst collectors for works from this profound stretch of Munch’s career continues to
grow globally, fueled by the great scarcity of available examples. Few paintings from the 1890s-era
still remain in private collections, and the works most closely related to Fertility, including Metabolism
and Eye in Eye, are in the permanent collection of the Munch Museum in Oslo. The last significant
work from the mid-1890s to come to market, the darkly seductive Vampire, set a new record of $38.1
million at auction in November of 2008.
A complete e-catalogue of the Evening Sale, including this work, will be available online at
http://www.christies.com beginning in mid-April.
Auction: Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Viewing: Christie's Rockefeller Center Galleries April 30 – May 4, 2010
Christie’s, the world's leading art business had global auction and private sales in 2009 that totaled £2.1
billion/$3.3 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and
expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's conducted the
greatest auctions of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and today remains a popular showcase for the unique
and the beautiful. Christie’s offers over 450 sales annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and
decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $80
million. Christie’s has 53 offices in 32 countries and 10 salerooms around the world including in London,
New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai and Hong Kong. More recently, Christie’s has led the
market with expanded initiatives in emerging and new markets such as Russia, China, India and the United
Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai. *All auction sales figures
*Estimates do not include buyer's premium