Norway – Cloud Walker

Munch Mix

Norwegian artist Edvard Munch is famous for his masterpiece, The Scream. Let’s take a look at the man and what drove him to create such a haunting image, which is universally appreciated and an icon of Norway:

Munch was born on Decmber 12, 1863 in Löten, Norway, the second of five children. Tragedy seemed to follow the Munch family. When Edvard was very young, his mother died from tuberculosis, followed by one of his sisters. Another sister was troubled with mental illness issues and committed to an asylum in her teens and a brother died young after a bout of pneumonia. Munch, himself, suffered from mental health issues, which were exacerbated by alcoholism. The artist spent periods of time in a private sanitarium.

the-scream-grumpy-cat

After originally studying to be an engineer, Munch left school to pursue art, which he did at the Royal School of Art and Design, starting in 1881. From there, he rented a studio with six other artists, with the intention of creating an exhibition. Munch specialized in Expressionism and some historians believe he was the father of the movement, before it took off in the early 1900’s.

Munch’s first major work was called The Sick Child and illustrated the death of his sister. It was also based on times he visited ill patients with his father, who was a doctor. When it was first unveiled, the painting drew harsh criticism, with many detractors claiming the piece was unfinished. Munch made six copies of the painting, which reside in galleries around the world.

After moving to France in 1889, Munch got down to business, creating a number of pieces based on feelings for the 1902 Berlin Exhibition. These works included Despair, Melancholy, Anxiety, and Jealousy. Munch’s claim to fame, The Scream, was also created during this period. It is actually based on a real location in Ekeberg, Norway. With Oslo pictured faintly in the background, past the safety railing and down the hill was the sanitarium which housed Munch’s sister. There was also a slaughterhouse nearby and it’s claimed that screams could be heard emanating from both buildings.

The Scream Cat

There are four versions of the famous image. One hangs in the Norwegian National Gallery, one in the Munch Museum, and pastel and lithograph varieties also exist. The National Gallery’s version of The Scream was stolen in 1994 on the opening day of the Lillehammer Winter Olympics, with the two male burglars leaving behind a note that read: “Thanks for the poor security.” The National Gallery refused to pay a $1 million ransom for the piece and a police sting operation recovered the painting a few months later, as well as procuring convictions against four men that were later overturned.

The Scream was also one of two pieces stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway in 2004. Masked gunmen nabbed The Scream, as well as Munch’s ‘Madonna’. The work suffered some damage before it was recovered in 2006. The piece was put on display for a short time, with damage and all, before disappearing for restoration work. It finally returned to being on display again in 2008. In all, six men were arrested in connection with the theft.

In 2012, The Scream sold for $120 million U.S., breaking the record previously set by Pablo Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust,” which went for $106.5 million U.S. in 2010. The piece went up in value because the frame is also painted by Munch and includes a poem describing his motivation for creating it. Bidding began at a mere $40 million, with the auction lasting more than 12 minutes.

the-scream movie

The Scream has found its way into numerous avenues of popular culture. It was the inspiration for Ghostface’s mask for the Scream movie franchise, which is known the world over. Pop artist Andy Warhol recreated the piece as a silk print, which became quite famous. It was also chosen by the Norwegian Postal Service as one of four Munch works to be turned into stamps. Imaging getting a letter with that haunting face staring back at you. No wonder so many Scandinavians go crazy!

In 1938, The Nazi’s declared Munch’s catalogue of work “degenerate art” and removed his collections from German galleries, putting them up for auction. Norwegian art dealer Harald Holst Halvorsen (the original Triple H) nabbed as many of the pieces as he could to return them to their homeland. Halvorsen then distributed some of the pieces to other parts of the continent, based on discussions he had with Munch and Munch’s desire for recognition in other parts of Europe.

Munch moved to Ekely, Norway and chose to live mostly in isolation, where he died on January 23, 1944, aged 81. He enjoyed painting the landscape and farm life in his twilight years, but perhaps more importantly, he did a fair bit of work on nude paintings with a slew of female models, some of which he likely had relationships with. Now, that is the mark of a true master!

Norway: Cloud Walker

Cloud Walker Cocktail

  • 1 oz Cloudberry Liqueur
  • 0.75 oz Whiskey or Bourbon
  • Top with Lemonade
  • Splash of Lime Juice
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

I must admit, that as I did research for this article, I was able to appreciate The Scream and other works by Munch more. Sadly, when the Sip Syndicate visited Oslo and tried to visit the Munch Museum, the place was closed. We all screamed in agony and then went to drown our sorrows at a nearby bar!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Lemonade goes so well with Whiskeys and Bourbons. Luckily I’ve been around recently when a couple friends have had doubts to that. The Cloudberry Liqueur is the icing on this classic southern recipe cake and this was a wonderful cocktail which I will serve again in the future!

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June 23 – Pink Mishe

And Away We Go…

Today we begin a two-day recap of my and Mrs. Sip’s recent vacation to Europe, highlighted by a Baltic Sea cruise. Join us for adventures on the high seas and the pillaging of ports. What, you didn’t even realize I was gone? Yeah, that’s how awesome I am, as I kept this site afloat from the other side of the world! Without further ado, here were a few of the places we hit to get our drink on:

Whiskyfest Tasting at Duty Free

The start of our holiday got off to a curious start, as we explored the duty free store in Vancouver International, we stumbled upon a whiskey tasting booth as part of the store’s Whiskyfest celebration. At the booth, I tried a number of scotch products, and decided I liked the Dalmore brand the most. Unfortunately, I had to suffer through my samples with a fellow traveler and scotch know-it-all, who kept telling me to how “peaty” the various libations would taste.

Be At One

Our first stop took us to London, England and between visiting with friends and attending a number of West End shows, we managed to hit this bar three times in just four days for its wonderful happy hour. They way these chaps do things, is drinks are two-for-one, but you have to buy two of the same, so it’s great in groups of even numbers. We must have tried at least a dozen different cocktails over our visits and I even pilfered one of the menus to bring home for my own use.

Be At One

Wetherspoons

This is a chain of bars in London that offer reasonable prices on food and drink, particularly the food. Mrs. Sip and I enjoyed a couple of pints and pub food while resting between attraction stops. They also have pitchers of cocktail creations available, such as Sex on the Beach, Cosmopolitan and Mojito, among others. Some, like the one right across from the Tower of London, also have rather amazing views!

Carlsberg Brewery

From London, we were off to Copenhagen, Denmark in the wee hours of the morning. After checking into our cruise, we visited the Carlsberg Brewery, home to, as the brewery puts it, “Probably the best beer in the world!”. I enjoyed this tour of the brewery, highlighted by our end-of-tour samples and an interesting collection of beer bottles from around the world that fills the entire top floor of one of the landmark’s buildings. This is also the first breweries I’ve visited that house horses!

Ice Bar & Liquor Store Shopping

Our day in Oslo, Norway started with sightseeing and finished with drinks and liquor shopping, as any good travel day should. When we discovered that both art museums housing the famous ‘Scream’ painting were closed, we decided to hit the Ice Bar and enjoy some very expensive (and not very deserving of their price) cocktails in freezing cold temperatures. While the bar made of ice was unique, paying $14.50 per small cocktail of cranberry juice and vodka was maybe not the highlight of the day. Oh well, you have to do it once in your life!

The_Scream

This was our reaction when we found out both the Munch Museum and National Gallery were closed on our one day in Oslo, Norway!

The day took a swing back upwards when we were given directions to a nearby liquor store, where I hoped to find Cloudberry Liqueur, a supposedly rare and expensive spirit known to be found in Norway. While I didn’t find the hidden treasure, I was able to pick up some Crowberry Frost Liqueur (sounds close enough, right?), which I had never heard of before and a small bottle of Hot & Sweet, which I can only describe as a salty Black Sambuca that should be used as a punishment shot in drinking games.

Trotzenburg Brewery

In Germany, the land of beer and chocolate, we managed to enjoy both on this wet, miserable day. The first restaurant we hit to escape the inclement weather, featured a delicious wheat beer (my favourite type of brew, in case anyone was wondering), which I combined with a hot chocolate to help warm me up. Mrs. Sip followed suit, displaying all the qualities that made me fall in love with her!

Once the rain let up a little we made our way to the Trotzenburg Brewery in Rostock, Germany, where our group (we had been joined by some extended Sip family members from Berlin/Hamburg) shared a yard of beer, made up of 13 mugs of various brews. This was the perfect complement to our schnitzel and currywurst orders!

Drink #174: Pink Mishe

Pink Mishe Cocktail

Join us tomorrow for even more escapades as we conquer seven countries in two weeks and most of the time while blitzed out of our minds!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (2 Sips out of 5):
This was my first cocktail using the Crowberry Frost Liqueur Mrs. Sip and I found in Denmark. I have to say the lemon measurement was too strong in this cocktail, overwhelming the Crowberry Liqueur and Citron Vodka. I wish I had used Sweet & Sour Mix over Lemon Juice. To sum up, I look forward to trying Crowberry Liqueur again, sans Lemon Juice.