This large portrait of consul Christen Sandberg was painted in Moss in 1901 and exhibited in Kristiania the same year.
In the initial version the placing of the male figure was rather unfortunate in that one of his legs was cut off at the bottom, and this is probably what the public saw in 1901. But two years later the painting was exhibited again, where it was described as the “new version”.
The changes probably involved the picture being stretched on a new frame after the lower part of the picture was rolled up at the back so that the bottom of the picture now ended just above the man’s knees.
Several years later – probably in 1909 – the canvas was rolled out again and a strip added at the bottom so that Munch had room to paint the whole of the left foot. In addition, details on the door were added. The door-handle now camouflaged damage in the canvas.
Christen Sandberg was a Norwegian naval officer, businessman, author and German vice-consul. He was also a very outgoing and sociable man with many friends in artist and bohemian circles. Munch also painted a smaller portrait of him in 1915.