http://www.kunsthaus.ch/en/the-collection/provenance/case-studies/tree-suspicious-cases/music-on-karl-johan-streetby-edvard-munch/?redirect_url=title%3DNouvelles

Kunsthaus Zürich

‘Music on Karl Johan Street’
by Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch
Music on Karl Johan Street, 1889
Oil on canvas, 101,5 x 140,5 cm
© Kunsthaus Zürich, ProLitteris, Zurich
Edvard Munch
Music on Karl Johan Street, 1889
Oil on canvas, 101,5 x 140,5 cm
© Kunsthaus Zürich, ProLitteris, Zurich

Curt Glaser, Director of the Art Library in Berlin who also worked in the latter’s Museum of Prints and Drawings, wrote the first monograph in German on Edvard Munch and had shared Kunsthaus Director Wilhelm Wartmann’s admiration for the Norwegian artist since the early 1920s. An art historian whose interests encompassed many areas, he began selling paintings by Munch as early as the late 1920s. When he emigrated to Switzerland, he deposited part of his collection with the Kunsthaus. Glaser donated ‘Music on Karl Johan Street’ (1889) to the National Gallery in Berlin at the start of 1933 in memory of his first wife. As the agreed conditions were not adhered to under the Nazis, he demanded the picture back and it was sent to the Kunsthaus for him in 1939. In 1941, shortly before Glaser emigrated to the US, Wartmann asked him if he would consider selling ‘Music on Karl Johan Street’ to the Kunsthaus. Settling on a price proved difficult. Glaser, who was interested in placing the painting with a museum, asked for CHF 15,000, the sum he had paid for it himself. By then, however, the market had deteriorated sharply, and a reduction of 20% was agreed. In-depth research conducted in association with the Munch Museum in Oslo has established that the price paid was in line with the market at the time. The correspondence between the two colleagues has been preserved, and reveals the great care and respect with which the acquisition was handled.
Glaser sold a further painting by Munch to the Kunsthaus two years later, and his widow sold two more to the museum after the war.