Tulla Larsen Edvard Munch Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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The end between Tulla Larsen and Edvard Munch was explosive than what you would expect. Though it is hard to capture the event's details, there is a clear record of its aftermath.

Munch received a gunshot that claimed one of his left fingers, and Larsen rebounded from the relationship very fast and got married to Arne Kavli, a Norwegian painter. This is the story that inspired the painting known as Tulla Larsen by Edvard Munch. As an artist, Munch needed to do something to indicate the end of his relationship with Larsen. He used a saw and used it to cut a portrait depicting him and his ex-fiancée in two. This was a physical indication that the relationship was officially over. Munch's self-portrait with Larsen reflects his dramatic preoccupations.

Reunion with Fiancée

On July 21st, 2019, after more than a century, Vanessa Thorpe reported an upcoming exhibition at the British Museum. The show's main objective was to put back the split portrait so that Munch and Larsen as displayed side by side for the first time after more than 100 years. The show was titled Edvard Munch: Love and Angst. There was more to just bringing the two together. For instance, according to Aimee Dawson, reunion could be used to study and understand Munch's perspective of the Frieze of Life, which is ideally the human encounters defined by love and relationships.

The Damage Was Psychological

The end of Munch and Larsen's relationship was terrible and led to gunshots that claimed his finger. However, to Munch, the damage was more psychological than physical, as Smithsonian's Lubow explained. As far as later writings are concerned, Munch hints at a life-long tendency toward melodrama. He states that each person stared at him and his affected hand; he also reveals that most people with whom he shared a table never liked to see his monstrosity. In his entire life, Munch never got married. He considered his paintings his children and never wanted to be separated from them.

Tulla Larsen might seem like a cool painting done by a real expert. However, it has a strong, emotional story behind it. Edvard Munchen dedicated the portrait to someone he loved with his life. Unfortunately, they separated, and she got married to someone else. The separation was terrible and left Munch's left hand deformed. Though the portrait was put back together, the two never spent their lives together.