MM N 415. Ibsen and the Frieze of Life!, Towards the light –

Literary sketches. Ibsen and the Frieze of Life!, Towards the light –

No-MM_N0415-00-01r.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 1r

MM N 415, fol. 1r

Ibsen Commentary. Person and the Frieze of Life!

    I travelled from Berlin home to Norway
in the spring of 1893 – It was after
that turbulent autumn and winter – when
the great artist controversy raged
after my Exhibition in Arkitektenhaus
in the autumn of 1892 –

    – I had with me a greeting from Dr. Elias Commentary. Person 
and other friends of his in Berlin
– It was during the Freie Bühne Commentary. Institution period and
– when the Ibsen cult was just beginning –
– I went up to
his residence in Arbiensgade Commentary. Place– with a
[visiting] card in my pocket – I was aware of Ibsen’s
secluded lifestyle and was in Fact
happy that he was not at home
I left my card and
believed that that was the end of it –
– One day on Karl Johan Commentary. Place – a little bit after
Dinnertime –

No-MM_N0415-00-01v.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 1v

MM N 415, fol. 1v

I was walking down Karl Johan Commentary. Place 
which was teeming with people –
– when I decided to go in to
the reading room at the Grand [Hotel]Commentary. Institution – They had for-
eign – and German newspapers – There in the Corner
by the window facing Karl Johan half
concealed in shadow sat Ibsen Commentary. Person behind his
newspaper – every now and then
he peered about the room with
large blinking eyes behind his glasses –
– He would spend time here every day
in the early afternoons reading the papers
and having his daily highball – Here he could maintain
a modicum of communication with the Europe
he had left behind –

    – I read a couple of German
newspapers – and then went out into the teeming
crowd – I walked towards the Café
– I turned around just as I was about to
enter – And there was Ibsen
in the street as well – he had
also left – I entered the
Café – some friends were sitting
at a table among them Sigurd Høst Commentary. Person
I sat down

No-MM_N0415-00-02r.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 2r

MM N 415, fol. 2r

– There is Ibsen Commentary. Person someone said –
– and we could see his short yet
ample figure there
in the doorway – entering the Grand Commentary. Institution
It was a singular sight –
– There he came sailing like a broad
ship amidst the sitting guests
– and he was headed towards us –
– Good Afternoon Mr. Munch I presume
– I would like to thank you for your visit – and there
he was –

    He asked about his friends –
– we could barely talk
for the emotion –

    – Then he left – he had
returned my visit –

No-MM_N0415-00-03v.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 3v

MM N 415, fol. 3v

Ibsen Commentary. Person [by]  the window – the portrait –
– Lugné-Poë Commentary. Person – Nathansen and his wife Commentary
Herman Bang Commentary. Person – Ibsen holding
me by the shirtsleeve – He was in the
right state of mind – there was a little devil in
his eyes – I am working on something new
he said – And there will be some devilry
in it as well. One cannot do without it –
Oh, well – it will probably not be understood
– They still do not understand “Per Gynt Commentary” –
– By this I mean – the entire nation

    It was in 1895 –
I had an exhibition at Blomqvist Commentary. Institution
in the autumn – There was a heated
controversy about the pictures – There were calls
to boycott the venue – the police [were summoned]
– One day I met Ibsen
down there – He walked over to
me – I find it extremely interesting
he said – Believe me – you will have the
same fate as I – the more enemies
[you make] the more friends [you will acquire]

    I had to walk beside him
and he insisted on seeing every picture A great part

No-MM_N0415-00-03r.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 3r

MM N 415, fol. 3r

of The Frieze of Life was displayed –

    The melancholic young man
by the shore – Madonna – Scream
– Angst – Jealously – The three women – (or
Woman in Three Stages)

    He was particularly interested in –
Woman in Three Stages – I had to explain it to
him – They are the idealistic woman –
– woman with a lust for life – and
woman as a Nun – the pale
one standing behind the trees –
– Then he was amused by
my portraits – how I
had emphasised a certain characteristic
– so that it bordered on caricature –
– some years later Ibsen Commentary. Person wrote
When We Dead Awaken Commentary
– The sculptor’s work that
is never executed – but disappeared
abroad – I recognised
several motifs that resembled
my pictures in The Frieze of Life –
– The man sitting slumped over
amidst the boulders – in Melancholy

No-MM_N0415-00-04r.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 4r

MM N 415, fol. 4r

Jealousy – The Polish man who lay prostrate
with a bullet in his head –

    But the three women in particular –
– Irene Commentary – the one in white who
dreams of stepping out into life –
– Maja Commentary the one with a lust for life –
the naked one
– The grieving woman – with her petrified
pale head in between the tree trunks –
– Irene’s fate –
the nurse –

    – These three women appear
many times in Ibsen Commentary. Person’s
drama– as in my picture –

    – A bright summer night the
grieving woman dressed in black was
juxtaposed to the light naked figure
in a kind of bathing costume –

    – The alluring white form
against grief’s dark colours – all
in the mystical light of an illuminated
summer night – as in my picture
The illuminated summer night when life and
death, day and night walk hand in hand

No-MM_N0415-00-04v.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 4v

MM N 415, fol. 4v

    In Ibsen Commentary. Person’s drama – the sculptor’s
portraits are also mentioned – they
were caricatures – animal heads
which the commissioners of the portraits received as a bonus

    – As in Ibsen Commentary. Person’s ‘The Dead Awaken Commentary
– where the sculptor’s work depicting
the resurrection – was split up – and
uncompleted – that is how it ended with
my work as well –

    – some of my pictures ended up in
Bergen Commentary. Place – some in Munich
– I was not granted
any [financial] support – to complete the work
– at the time – I was most preoccupied
with it – It was crushed by
derision and adversity –

    – It was not until much later that I
barely collected – what was left of it which also
resulted in approximately [that same state] as I
had organised it 20 years ago –
– It had merely become a draft
a torso

No-MM_N0415-00-05r.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 5r

MM N 415, fol. 5r

It was intended to be on a far greater scale
– and more expanded and developed –
I had also thought of [making]
stained glass windows to go with it –

Towards the light –

    – I submitted two drafts
for the Aula Commentary competition –
One of them was the one that
hangs in the Aula – with the sun
in the background

    – The other was Towards the Light
– the human being’s yearning for
the light – a human mass
that rises up high like a column
or a mountain – reaching towards the sun –

    The remaining pictures – depict
humans struggling – –

    The two largest pictures are the struggle
and the rainbow

    Moreover it was nearly the same  … 
in the two proposals – I worked on the series
Towards the Light – with The Human Mountain
and human struggle and yearning – out at Ekely

No-MM_N0415-00-06r.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 6r

MM N 415, fol. 6r

    It was during the time of
Realism and Impressionism –
I was in an agitated sickly
state of mind – or in a joyful
mood – and found a
landscape – I wanted to
paint – I brought my easel
set it up and painted the picture
from nature –

    It was a good picture –
but not the one I wished to paint –
– I did not capture what I saw in
the agitated sickly mood or
– in the joyful mood –

    – This occurred often –
then I began to scrape
away at the picture – to search in my
memory – for the first impression
– seeking to retrieve it

No-MM_N0415-00-06v.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 6v

MM N 415, fol. 6v

    When I saw the sick child The red
Hair – against the pale face the head against the white
cushion – it made an impression
that disappeared as I worked on it –

    – The Picture was painted over
many times – in the course of a
year I scraped away at it countless
times – I wanted to regain
the first impression – I achieved
much of the first impression in
the mode of expression but – after a while
I became worn out so the colours became
grey –. This was the first
‘sick child’ – which is now owned by
Barrister Nørregård Commentary. Person – It was only many
years later that I took the picture up again – and
painted 3 new pictures of the sick girl – Here one succeeded in
rendering the first impression – the colour –
the red hair stands starkly out against
the white face and the white cushion

    Later I began to go
directly to the first impression
and often painted only from
memory – made a pencil drawing
after which I began to paint –
lay out the picture out of doors – and finished
painting it indoors

No-MM_N0415-00-07r.jpg. MM N 415, fol. 7r

MM N 415, fol. 7r

I painted the pictures of the Frieze of Life
only after the image – that had imprinted itself on
my eye in a moment of emotion – and
painted what still
remained attached – to my
retina –

    – I painted only what
I remembered – and added nothing –
– Hence the Simplicity –
– and often the apparent emptiness
in many pictures –

    I painted impressions from childhood
– The faded colours from that time

    – I painted the colours and the lines I
had seen in an emotional
state – and I was thus able
to create the quivering emotional
atmosphere once more –

    That is how the pictures in The
Frieze of Life came into being –