Jeg sitter i det eneste hyggelige huset jeg har boet i – i Åsgårdstrand

Munch’s dream house

“I am sitting in the only pleasant house I have ever lived in – the house in Åsgårdstrand”

The House by the Fjord, 1902 (c) Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen Gruppen/BONO 2013

The House by the Fjord, 1902 (c) Munch-museet/Munch-Ellingsen Gruppen/BONO 2013

Following the summers in Thorine’s house, Munch rents lodgings in various locations in Åsgårdstrand before finally purchasing his “dream house” in 1898, and establishes an atelier on the property in 1899. This purchase seems to provide Munch with an even greater connection with the area. He describes his feelings about having a home of his own: “- It was strange being alone– in one’s own house. This was his Property – It hadn’t cost much, and it was nothing fancy, but it was his, and out there in the Garden were all his Trees – Stones – the Beach – and the Waves washing against the Stones. It was his sky up there, and his
Stars -“.

His friend Christian Gierløff writes vividly about Munch’s relationship with his home: “Åsgårdstrand, the city of jasmine! The city of lilacs and jasmine. – The home of peace.” – Åsgårdstrand is the place for him!” – And then about the purchase in 1898: “This was and is the happiest day in Edvard Munch’s life. A new era. A foundation. An anchorage. And fruit trees, berry bushes, ornate flower beds with asters and stock. A sheer gold mine of a carefully tended vegetable garden growing deep beneath the earth. Lilacs and jasmine. At the edge of the great Fjugstad forest. Many funny old people. Many cute, sweet children. Peace and friendship everywhere, and what a moonbeam across the sea! –
The exhilaration he felt was unparalleled! Frederick the Great surely never had so joyful a day in his Sanssouci, nor the Sun King in his Versailles. – In those days, Munch’s Versailles stood just a pleasant stroll from Åsgårdstrand City. There among the hotels lived Oslo’s artistic beau monde and fine folk from Drammen in Berlinian and Parisian fashion. Åsgårdstrand and Paris. Here he could live cheaply and independently on growth from the soil and a few sous, and paint, paint!”

It was Åsgårdstrand Munch longed for when he was abroad. His correspondence with family and friends tells of plans for the garden, preparations and purchases, – and of longing: “I am so unbearably tired of travel and exhibitions – and long deeply for my house and my work.”

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