august 28, 2012
A British-born nun has said she is willing to undergo DNA tests to establish whether she is the grandchild of Edvard Munch.
Janet Weber believes her grandmother, Eva Mudocci, had a fling with Munch which resulted in her becoming pregnant with twins in 1908. Mudocci never told Munch and the artist, in official histories, is said to have died childless.
Weber had never publicly spoken about her possible link to the artist until recently, when she was approached more or less at the same time by a Norwegian broadcast journalist and a British PR man researching a show in Milton Keynes by the contemporary Norwegian artist Pushwagner.
A programme about the link was broadcast in Norway two weeks ago, prompting interest including a reaction from Elisabeth Munch-Ellingsen, a great-great-granddaughter of Munch's uncle Petter Andreas Munch. She told reporters: "This is fun for us, if it's true."
Mudocci, born Evangeline Hope Muddock, was a talented violinist who toured Europe with her companion Bella Edwards, a pianist, giving concerts. The two women were together for 50 years but Eva gave birth to twins Isobel (Janet's mother) and Kai in December 1908.
Mudocci first met Munch in 1903, introduced by the composer Delius when she and Edwards were living in Paris. Munch was clearly taken with her lively personality and dark beauty as he wanted to make "the perfect portrait" of her, which he arguably did in his magnificent lithograph 'The Brooch.'
They remained friends and corresponded with each other, but the question is whether there was something more which resulted in the birth of twins in a private clinic in the Danish city of Nykøbing Falster in 1908.
The twins came to England in their mid-teens. In later life Kai, an artist who studied under Augustus John, returned to Denmark, where he became mentally unstable and was hospitalised.
Isobel, meanwhile, studied music and went on to work at the BBC. She married a Swiss banker, lived in London and had three children – Bent (now 79), Sven (who died in 2001) and Janet, now 72.
Janet was born in Caterham, Surrey, and went to the Royal Ballet school until she was 15 before studying theatre. To the horror of her parents, she became a nun and has lived for the past 40 years in Connecticut, returning to the UK about twice a year.
The question of who her mother's real father is has been there most of her life.
"My mother never knew for certain, she never got any information from my grandmother," said Weber. "It was a bit of an anguish to her.
"My mother would have liked to have known who her father was but at the same time it was just difficult to talk about it, there were very few people she was able to talk about it with. And in the family it was to some extent a non-subject, even though we were intrigued."
Weber has vague childhood memories of her grandmother and visiting her house in Notting Hill. "The house seemed very dark and there were lots and lots and lots of artefacts. She and Bella were cooking something on the stove and I have memories of acrid smells and artefacts and dramatic people."
So is it true and can it ever be proved? The question of DNA testing has been raised in the Norwegian media and Weber has said she would be willing. She says she is not seeking money but would just like to lay the story to rest.
"I would be fine to do any test – it would lay to rest whether he is or isn't, and because I'm the last one who can tell the story, for the sake of my nephews and nieces."
via: the guardian
read more > here