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Like most children, little Edvard was fascinated by animals. There are innumerable representations of them in his early drawings (MM.T.02600-08 og MM.T.02629). Gradually they are replaced by “living humans who breathe and feel, suffer and love”. But after the turn of the century, animals gradually reappear in his art. During his stay at the clinic in Copenhagen 1908–09, he eagerly draws exotic animals on his many visits to the nearby zoo (MM.T.00168-08 og -12).

During his peripatetic existence on the continent, the animal lover Munch was not quite able to come into his own, but after settling in Norway, he gradually surrounded himself with them: horses, geese, turkeys, hens, cows, pigs, doves, ducks and dogs. Most of his animals were used as subjects in his art work, the horses in particular having to be patient models for various paintings. And they undoubtedly enjoyed this – after all, they did not have very many other duties. Eating and being painted – a life of luxury the hardworking dray horses in Kristiania would certainly have envied them, had they had any inkling of it.

The horses were models, but the dogs were life companions – after buying the terrier Fips (MM.T.00184-14-verso) in 1910, he thereafter always kept dogs, two or three, sometimes even more, right up to his death. So, it comes as no surprise that we find countless portraits of dogs during 33 years spent together with his four-legged friends. And it is not coquetry to call them portraits. Munch saw their clear individual personalities, and like the outstanding portraitist he was, succeeded in giving the dogs, just as he did people, their highly personal expressions. See for instance MM.T.00206-36 and MM.T.01429.