Edvard Munch was my grandfather: US nun

A 72-year-old American nun is likely to get DNA assistance from the Norwegian artist’s heirs as she seeks to prove her sensational claims to be the granddaughter of Edvard Munch.

Edvard Munch was my grandfather: US nun
Did Eva Mudocci have twins with Edvard Munch (Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen/Scanpix)

Although the artist behind The Scream was long thought to have died childless, US-based nun Janet Weber has for the first time come forward with her claim that Munch may in fact have had twins with her grandmother, the violinist and model Eva Mudocci.

“It’s fun for us if it’s true,” Elisabeth Munch-Ellingsen, one of the artist’s Norwegian heirs, told broadcaster NRK.

Munch-Ellingsen said she would have “no problem” getting a DNA test to prove whether or not she was related to Janet Weber.

“But it’s a bit sad if he was the father of two children who were 34 years old when he died. If this is true, then he never got to meet his children. That’s a shame," said Munch-Ellingsen.  

The model for one of his best-known paintings, The Brooch, Mudocci became romantically involved with Munch after they met in Paris in 1903.

The London-born musician, originally know as Evangeline Hope Muddock, gave birth to twins, Isobel and Kai, at a hospital in Copenhagen in December 1908.

While Mudocci never revealed their father’s identity to her children, her musician friend Bella Edwards told Janet Weber’s mother, Isobel Weber, that she was in fact Edvard Munch’s daughter, NRK reports.

According to Janet Weber, Edvard Munch was likely never informed he had children.

Together with Washington-based Munch expert Sally Epstein, Weber has recently been trying to piece together the puzzle of her origins.

“We know that Munch and Eva Mudocci had a relationship, and that she was his lover,” Epstein told NRK.

“We know they were together the year before she gave birth. We know they continued to send each other letters throughout the years and met several times later.”

Janet Weber said she had no interest in seeking an inheritance, and was driven instead by a desire to learn more about her heritage.

“For me to know that Edvard Munch might be my grandfather is almost incomprehensible,” she said.

Munch's most famous painting, The Scream, was sold at auction in New York in May for a world record $119.9.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive

Norway’s National Museum has preserved some of the country’s most treasured artefacts digitally and stored them in a former mine on Arctic archipelago Svalbard.

Norway digitally freezes national treasures and stores them in Arctic archive
Photo: Bartek Luks on Unsplash

The Arctic World Archive was originally constructed in 2017 to “protect the world’s most important cultural relics”, the National Museum said on its website.

The data preservation facility is located on the island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard archipelago, not far from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault.

The National Museum has now placed its entire collection of around 400,000 items as digital copies on plastic film rolls, which are to be stored at the Longyearbyen site.

“The dry, cold and low-oxygen air gives optimal conditions for storing digital archives and the film rolls will have a lifetime of around 1,000 years in the archive,” the museum writes. Emissions emitted by the archive are low due to its low energy consumption.

Offline storage of the archives also insures them against cyber attacks, the museum said.

In addition to all data from the National Museum collection database, high-resolution digital images of works by selected artists are included in the archive.

Works to be stored include ‘The Scream’ by Edvard Munch, ‘Winter Night in the Mountains’ by Harald Sohlberg, the Baldishol Tapestry and Queen Maud’s ball dress.

“At the National Museum we have works from antiquity until today. We work with the same perspective on the future. The collection is not only ours, but also belongs to the generations after us,” National Museum director Karin Hindsbo said via the museum’s website.

“By storing a copy of the entire collection in the Arctic World Archive, we are making sure the art will be safe for many centuries,” Hindsbo added.

In addition to the Norwegian artefacts, organisations from 15 other countries are represented in the archive, including national museums in Mexico, Brazil and India; the Vatican library, Sweden’s Moderna Museet and Unicef.

READ ALSO: Norway's Arctic 'doomsday vault' stocks up on 60,000 more food seeds