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05.01.2014
Edvard Munch, 150 Master Prints




The Kunsthaus Zürich is showing some 150 masterpieces by the Norwegian Expressionist Edvard Munch. The large-format works on paper, half of them in colour, comprise all of his most celebrated motifs: ‘The Scream,’ ‘Angst’ and ‘Melancholy,’ as well as ‘Vampire,’ ‘Madonna,’ the ‘Girls on the Bridge’ and self-portraits. It is the first time this private collection, ranging from Munch’s first drypoint to his final lithograph, has been shown in public in its entirety.

The Kunsthaus Zürich, which holds the largest collection of paintings by Edvard Munch outside Norway, was the venue in 1922 for the largest ever exhibition of graphic works by the world-famous artist – 400 in total. To mark the 150th anniversary of Munch’s birth, the graphic highlights of his oeuvre are now to go on exclusive display in Zurich.

THE LONGING AND INSECURITY OF MODERN HUMANITY
Love, pain and death, passion, loneliness and sorrow: the entire oeuvre of Edvard Munch (1863–1944) revolves around the fundamental experiences of human existence and the lives of modern people. Munch is one of the precursors of the Expressionist currents that began to shape European painting at the start of the 20th century. The formal boldness of his imagery and the radicalism of his themes inspire artists to this day.

SYMBOLIST AND EXPRESSIONIST
Munch’s graphic works are central to his oeuvre – from the early etchings through to the final lithograph executed just before his death. His masterpieces in printed form include many elaborations of his world-famous subjects, such as ‘The Scream,’ ‘Madonna,’ ‘Melancholy,’ and ‘The Sin.’ There are large-format colour lithographs, etchings and woodcuts, including hand-coloured plates and experiments in printing, that are striking in both the richness and subtlety of their colour palette and their rigorous reduction. In his graphic works Munch often condenses the expressive power of his central symbolist allegories in a way that is more compelling than his paintings. Many of them will be on display for the first time, and only for a limited period.

PAINTINGS: LANDSCAPES, PORTRAITS
The presentation in the large exhibition gallery also features the paintings by Munch from the Kunsthaus collection – full-length portraits, harbour scenes and landscapes acquired by the Zürcher Kunstgesellschaft from the 1920s onwards, some of them direct from the artist, others loaned or donated to the Kunsthaus at a later date. The motifs include members of Hanseatic merchant families, landscapes near Chemnitz and Lübeck harbour. His 1921 work ‘Apple Tree’ is based on a composition that harks back to the theme of Adam and Eve.


Credits
Edvard Munch
Angst, 1896
Lithograph on wove paper, 499 x 425 mm
Private collection
© The Munch Museum/The Munch-Ellingsen Group/2013, ProLitteris, Zurich


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