Edvard Munch’s bohemian model buried in Tbilisi
23 March, 2016
Edvard Munch’s bohemian model buried in Tbilisi
Perhaps many of you do not know that the outstanding Norwegian painter Edvard Munch's famous model Dagny Juel is buried in Tbilisi, Georgia. She is depicted in Munch’s some of the most distinguished paintings such as Madonna, a most unorthodox portrayal of Mary, mother of Christ, Jealousy and Ashes. It is unclear whether Dagny and Munch had aნ affair, though what we do know for sure is that Dagny was the model for some of Munch’s most significant works.



Dagny who was a writer and an outstanding representative of bohemian circles got to know Munch, and personalities in the Norwegian bohemian community while she studied piano in Kristiania (present-day Oslo). It is noteworthy that apart from Munch she modeled for various Scandinavian artists. In 1892 she went to Berlin to further develop her piano playing. She frequently visited The Black Piglet café where she befriended August Strindberg, Richard Demel and the polish writer Stanisław Przybyszewski with whom she married in 1893. As for Stanisław, he was a Polish novelist, dramatist who was fascinated with the philosophy of Nietzsche, Satanism and plunged into the bohemian life of the city. Some even considered his wife to be a wizard. Although together they had two children, they both had numerous affairs over the years.

Dagny and Stanisław Przybyszewski

Besides being the model of Munch and pursuing bohemian lifestyle, Dagny became famous for the tragic end of her life in
Tbilisi. The couple traveled intensively across Europe and met with other artists, but finally settled down in Krakow where Stanislaw became the editor of the art magazine Zycie. Then, after some turbulent years the couple moved to Warsaw. In 1901 Dagny and his husband where invited to Tiflis (now Tbilisi) by one of her lovers Władysław Emeryk, the son of a mine-owner who was involved in coal and manganese business in Georgia .
Grand Hotel

Dagny and her 5-year-old child went first, but Stanislaw promised to join them a couple of days later. But he came too late. Upon one month of her stay in the city Dagny was found dead three days before her birthday at Grand Hotel in Tbilisi along with Władysław Emeryk.

According to the most widespread version the jealous lover first killed her and then committed suicide. Dagny’s son Zenon who witnessed this tragedy was found frightened at the hotel as well. Many international publications wrote about this mysterious and tragic death. Dagny was buried at the Kukia Cemetery in Tbilisi, on June 8th, 1901. Even today one will easily find her grave close to the main entrance of Kukia cemetery near a marble Madonna figure.

Dagny's old and new graves
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