Munch and Warhol

Munch's summer house was not far from my family's summer home, in Åsgårdstrand. He spent every summer there between 1889 and 1905, fell in love with the pretty town and with a married woman, Milly Thaulow (Mrs Heiberg).

The Shore of Love (Kjaerlighhetens Strand) is the 2010 summer exhibition at Haugar museum in Tonsberg. It's a rare treat and one of the biggest Munch exhibits ever held outside of Oslo or Bergen.  The images are familiar to Munch fans – the lovers, the girls on the beach, the big Norwegian moon spreading light across the water.

edvardmunchstrand.jpg edward-munch-sommernacht.jpg

Andy Warhol was a great fan of Munch.  He first saw the work at a gallery in New York in 1982.  Both men lost a parent at a very young age, and both, it seems were obsessed with death.  His paintings and silkscreens are inspired by Munch's The Scream, Madonna and Self-portrait with Skeleton Arm.


The opportunity to see Munch and Munch by Warhol so close to us, so close to where he spent so many magical summers, seems to have a touch of kismet to it.  My grandfather took me as a child to the Munch museum in Oslo – he saw it as a duty and a pleasure – but neither of my children have seen a Munch up close. 

I watched them excitedly discussing each painting, as thrilled by him as I am. (Warhol is "neat" – that brilliant, descriptive word the Americans use – but he doesn't tug on my heartstrings like Munch, doesn't come from the same dirt as we do.)


Bumble Ward is a blogger and writer living in Los Angeles.  She grew up with a Norwegian mother and an English father and spent every summer on an island in the Oslo fjord.