An unfinished painting of violinist Eva Mudocci has discreetly hung on the wall of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. for nearly 20 years—until now! Recent discoveries have led experts to believe the painting may be the work of iconic Norwegian artist Edvard Munch.
The mystery painting was donated to the college by alumnus Richard Tetlie, as part of a gift of 2,000 pieces of artwork after his death in 1999. It was originally thought to be the work of El Greco, an artist of the Spanish Renaissance, but proved false after scientific testing uncovered inconsistencies in the painting’s history. However, more recent investigations began after Mudocci scholar Rima Shore approached St. Olaf College after she discovered correspondence between the violinist and the painter along with auction records helping to identify the portrait’s existence, thought to be created between 1900 and 1904.
Throughout the month of October, experts from the New York/Philadelphia-based Scientific Analysis of Fine Arts (SAFA) will visit the campus to collect small imperceptible samples from the portrait. The samples will be compared to other known Munch paintings and, if present, a correlation will offer convincing evidence toward a positive authentication of the painting. If positive, the St. Olaf Flaten Art Museum and SAFA will see opportunities to co-publish their findings with curators from the Munchmuseet in Oslo, and potentially appear in a forthcoming biography of Mudocci by Shore.
Photo Credit: St. Olaf College