Edvard Munch – Löyton, Norway 1863-1944 Ekely (ARCHIVED)

Edvard Munch.png
Edvard Munch.png

Edvard Munch – Löyton, Norway 1863-1944 Ekely (ARCHIVED)

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'The Thinker’ by Rodin in Dr. Linde’s Garden, circa 1904-1908

Oil on canvas, 48 x 30¾ inches (122 x 78 cm)

Signed

The Berlin Sezession exhibition of 1902, which included twenty-two paintings by Munch, marked the beginning of the artist’s success in Germany. It was in this year that he was introduced to his first important patron, the eye specialist Dr. Max Linde. That autumn, after a period of restless travelling in Europe, Munch went to stay with Dr. Linde in Lübeck. Here he made a set of etchings and lithographs depicting his host’s house and garden and the members of his family. Over the next six years Munch found frequent opportunities to accept the hospitality of Dr. Linde, for whom he also undertook a number of commissions, including a group portrait, The Four Sons of Dr. Linde (Lübeck Museum).

Before his meeting with Munch, Dr. Linde had formed a friendship with Rodin and owned a large collection of his sculptures. This cast of The Thinker (now in Detroit) may not, however, have arrived in Lübeck until about 1904. Munch’s view of Dr. Linde’s garden in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, showing The Thinker in the distance, is dated 1906. For this reason and on stylistic grounds it is thought probable that ‘The Thinker’ by Rodin in Dr. Linde’s Garden was painted in the same year. The figures seated on a bench are presumably Frau Dr. Linde and other members of the family.

As this painting shows, Munch was far from indifferent to the works of Rodin. During his student days in Paris, Rodin’s powerful genius had inevitably influenced his vision. Munch’s Human Mountain of 1910, one of his designs for the Oslo University murals, must surely have been inspired by Rodin’s Gates of Hell, of which The Thinker is a part.

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