Edvard Munch's monumental sketches (1909-1916) for the Aula of Oslo University, Norway: Conservation issues and treatments

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Publication Type:

Journal Article


Sandbakken, Erika Gohde; Tveit, Eva Storevik;


Studies in Conservation, Volume 57, Number S1, p.258-267 (2012)


The Munch Museum owns more than 140 sketches created by Edvard Munch in connection with the painted canvas decorations for the Festival Hall (Aula) of the University of Oslo. Extensive conservation has been conducted, particularly in connection with the exhibition of more than 60 of the sketches at the Munch Museum. The largest of the exhibited ones measure up to 5 × 11.5 m. Munch painted and stored many of them outdoors and 31 of them have been stored on rolls since Munch's lifetime. Analyses reveal that Munch used at least six different paint media for these sketches. Comparing this analysis with visual examination of the sketches, it was not possible to determine a connection between the binding medium used and the matte appearance and porous condition of the paints. The conservation of the sketches largely concentrated on the consolidation of extensive areas of porous and flaking paint. Some sketches also had large amounts of efflorescent salts which were treated. Various consolidants and application methods known to have been used on matte paint were tested on both naturally and artificially aged mock-ups. On the basis of the test results from the mock-ups and some from the original paint, two different consolidants and three different application methods were chosen.