Munch’s experiments with various materials and painting methods essentially contribute to the originality of his work. At the same time, these experiments pose a challenge for conservators. This especially applies to Munch’s monumental drafts for Oslo’s university aula shown in the festivity hall of the Munch Museum.
The production of the aula paintings was a time-consuming process. To master the large scale of the works, Munch experimented extensively. Instead of painting the images as traditional frescoes directly on a wetted wall, the artist employed enormous canvases. Favoring easel painting over fresco painting allowed him to depict his subjects in a spontaneous and lively manner: his Sun shimmers in a myriad of colors, and in some of the aula paintings Munch let the paint run down the canvas. To achieve the expressive effects that he was looking for, Munch experimented with thin primer and little binder in his paint. This is why the paintings’ conservation is so challenging: since the paint comes off quite easily, little flakes of paint have to be glued back to the canvases.
Visit us to see for yourself how the museum’s specialists preserve Munch’s masterpieces and prepare them to be moved to the new Munch Museum in Bjørvika, which will be opened in 2020!