Sotheby’s unveiled highlights from its upcoming Evening Sale of Impressionist amp; Modern Art in New York. The 14 November auction will be led by Edvard Munch’s Pikene på broen (The Girls on the Bridge) from 1902, which is estimated to achieve in excess of $50 million. The lyrical work ranks as one of the most powerful paintings of his career, and has twice set a new world auction record for the artist at Sotheby’s. The motif and composition of Girls on a Bridge will certainly recall Munch’s masterpiece, The Scream, which made auction history when it sold at Sotheby’s in May 2012 for $119,922,500.
The Girls on the Bridge canvas captures all of the hallmarks of the Norwegian master’s genius – bold colour, sharp perspective, sinuous line, and of course existential angst. This one of Munch’s most widely popular and acclaimed motifs, was painted during one of the most turbulent periods of his life. The image of a cluster of young women, huddled in a secretive mass between two points of land, resonates with explosive tension. Like van Gogh and Gauguin before him and the Expressionists after him, Munch often uses color not for naturalistic description but to convey authenticity of feeling. Understanding the world as a place of agitation and stress, Munch makes that vision literal; the emotional states that concern Munch are often disruptive – anxiety, jealousy – but he also knows quieter moods, like melancholy and loneliness.