Collection

Edvard Munch
Norwegian, 1863-1944

The Seine at St. Cloud, 1890
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. Morris Hadley (Katherine Blodgett, class of 1920)
1962.1
Period: 19th c
Classification: Painting
Dimensions: Framed: 32 7/8 x 28 3/8 x 3 5/8 in. (83.5 x 72.07 x 9.21 cm) Unframed: 24 x 19 5/8 in. (60.96 x 49.85 cm)
Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings v
Signed and dated (LL): E Munch 90
Provenance v
Per L’Orsa, Oslo; purchased May 1959 by Mrs. Morris Hadley [Katherine Blodgett, ‘20] through (Richard N. Tetlie, Washington, DC); given January 1962, to VC Art Gallery
Published References v
(painting recorded in Munch files in Oslo); “Accessions of American Museums,” Art Quarterly, XXV, no. 4, winter 1962, p. 409, repr. p. 405; “Exhibit Planned,” Oregon Journal, May 30, 1963 Faison, S. Lane, Jr., Art Tours and Detours in New York State (New York: Random House, 1964), p. 233, repr. p. 232; Vassar College Art Gallery: Selections From The Permanent Collection (Poughkeepsie: Vassar College Art Gallery, 1967), p. 63-4, repr. (color); Vassar College Art Gallery: Paintings 1300-1900 (Poughkeepsie: VC Art Gallery, 1983), p. 182, repr.; Eggum, A. and R. Rapetti, Munch et la France (Paris: Reunion des Musées Nationaux, 1991), p. 77, repr.; (also appears in the 1989 CFM calendar, see file for details); Bjerke, Øivind Storm Bjerke, Edvard Munch/Harald Sohlberg: Landscapes of the Mind (New York: National Academy of Design, 1995), p. 128, repr.
Exhibition History v
Williamstown, Williams College Museum of Art, “Williams-Vassar Exchange Exhibition,” February 28-March 18, 1966; Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, “Edvard Munch: Symbols and Images,” November 11, 1978-Februrary 19, 1979; South Hadley, Mount Holyoke College Museum of Art, “Highlights from the Vassar College Art Gallery Collection,” August 2-November 19, 1990; Paris, Musée d’Orsay, “Munch et la France,” September 24, 1991-January 5, 1992 (Oslo, Munch Museum, January 27-April 21, 1992). Cat. no. 3, repr.; New York, NY, IBM Gallery of Science and Art, “Highlights from the Vassar College Collection,” July 13-September 11, 1993; New York, NY, National Academy of Design, “Edvard Munch and Harald Sohlberg: Landscapes of the Mind,” October 15, 1995-January 15, 1996. Cat. no. 6, repr. New York, New York, Museum of Modern Art, "Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul," Febuary 17 - May 8, 2006 Japan, Shimane Art Museum, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," March 7 - May 11, 2008. Cat. no. 13, p 55. Japan, Ishibashi Museum of Art, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," May 17 - July 20, 2008. Cat. no. , p . Japan, Yamagata Museum of Art, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," July 30 - August 31, 2008. Cat. no. , p. . Japan. Fuchu Art Museum, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," September 6 - November 3, 2008. Cat. no. , p. . Japan, Miyazaki Prefectural Art Museum, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," November 14 - December 14, 2008. Cat. , p. . Poughkeepsie, New York, The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, "Mastering Light: From the Natural to the Artificial," April 11 - June 29, 2014. Paris, France, Musee Marmottan Monet, "Hodler / Monet / Munch," September 15, 2016 - January 22, 2017
Description v
This cityscape by Munch, one of a half dozen that he painted during a so- journ at St. Cloud from the end of December 1889 to the beginning of May 1890, at first strikes the viewer as uncharacteristic of the artist, having none of the intensely vibrating forms or extreme melancholic subject matter of the artist’s later work. Upon closer inspection, though, it is easy to discern the less-than-tranquil ambience where strong shadows cast by the moonlight project a slightly sinister quality, and the lights shimmering on the water serve as a precursor for the more extraterrestrial lighting effects of Munch’s later, more disturbing, work. The branches of the tree along the footpath droop in a manner suggestive of the sadness associated with such trees as willows. When the painting was given to Vassar in 1962, it was one of only a very few oils by the artist in American museums. Arthur Hadley, the son of the donor, was an early proponent of Munch’s art and his mother purchased the painting for him sight unseen. His reaction was disappointment and Mrs. Hadley was anxious to re-sell the painting but could find no buyers. She then suggested to the chairman of the Vassar art department that the painting be given to the institution and the gift was accepted, but without great enthusiasm since the painting was not representative of Munch’s art and looked more “like a Whistler.” Vassar immediately explored the possibil- ity of selling the painting, but fortunately did not pursue the issue thanks to the rise in the artist’s reputation and the advocacy of scholars in the field.
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