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EDVARD MUNCH

Edvard Munch was my grandfather: US nun

A 72-year-old American nun is likely to get DNA assistance from the Norwegian artist’s heirs as she seeks to prove her sensational claims to be the granddaughter of Edvard Munch.

Edvard Munch was my grandfather: US nun
Did Eva Mudocci have twins with Edvard Munch (Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix)

Although the artist behind The Scream was long thought to have died childless, US-based nun Janet Weber has for the first time come forward with her claim that Munch may in fact have had twins with her grandmother, the violinist and model Eva Mudocci.

“It’s fun for us if it’s true,” Elisabeth Munch-Ellingsen, one of the artist’s Norwegian heirs, told broadcaster NRK.

Munch-Ellingsen said she would have “no problem” getting a DNA test to prove whether or not she was related to Janet Weber.

“But it’s a bit sad if he was the father of two children who were 34 years old when he died. If this is true, then he never got to meet his children. That’s a shame," said Munch-Ellingsen.  

The model for one of his best-known paintings, The Brooch, Mudocci became romantically involved with Munch after they met in Paris in 1903.

The London-born musician, originally know as Evangeline Hope Muddock, gave birth to twins, Isobel and Kai, at a hospital in Copenhagen in December 1908.

While Mudocci never revealed their father’s identity to her children, her musician friend Bella Edwards told Janet Weber’s mother, Isobel Weber, that she was in fact Edvard Munch’s daughter, NRK reports.

According to Janet Weber, Edvard Munch was likely never informed he had children.

Together with Washington-based Munch expert Sally Epstein, Weber has recently been trying to piece together the puzzle of her origins.

“We know that Munch and Eva Mudocci had a relationship, and that she was his lover,” Epstein told NRK.

“We know they were together the year before she gave birth. We know they continued to send each other letters throughout the years and met several times later.”

Janet Weber said she had no interest in seeking an inheritance, and was driven instead by a desire to learn more about her heritage.

“For me to know that Edvard Munch might be my grandfather is almost incomprehensible,” she said.

Munch's most famous painting, The Scream, was sold at auction in New York in May for a world record $119.9.

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ART

Paul Gauguin’s ‘Mata Mua’ returns to Spain

One of French painter Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, "Mata Mua", will return to a Madrid museum on Monday following an agreement between the Spanish government and its owner, who took it out of the country.

mata mua madrid
Toward the end of his life, Gauguin spent ten years in French Polynesia, where he completed some of his most famous artwork Painting: Paul Gaugin

The artwork had been on display for two decades at Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum but in 2020 when the institution closed because of the pandemic, the painting’s owner Carmen Thyssen moved it to Andorra where she currently lives.

Her decision to take “Mata Mua” to the microstate sandwiched between Spain and France raised fears she would remove other works from her collection which are on display at the museum.

“It is expected that the painting will arrive today,” a spokeswoman for the museum told AFP.

mata-mua_gauguin-madrid

In 1989, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza bought Mata Mua at the Sotheby’s auction in New York. Painting: Paul Gauguin

The artwork will go back on display to the public “a few days after” Thyssen signs a new agreement with the Spanish state for the lease of her collection, she added. The deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

Painted in 1892 in vivid, flat colours, “Mata Mua” depicts two women, one playing the flute and the other listening, set against a lush Tahitian landscape.

It is one of the stars of Thyssen’s collection of several hundred paintings which are on show at the museum, including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet.

Her collection had initially been displayed at the Madrid museum as part of a free loan agreement signed in February 2002 that was subsequently extended.

But in August 2021 Spain’s culture ministry announced it had reached an agreement with Thyssen to rent the collection from her for 15 years for €97.5 million ($111.5 million), with “preferential acquisition rights on all or part” of the works. The collection includes a Degas, a Hopper and a Monet.

Aside from housing her collection of works, the museum displays the collection of her late husband, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Swiss heir to a powerful industrial lineage who died in Spain in 2002.

The Spanish state bought his collection in 1993 from $350 million, according to the museum.

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