This major new exhibition of the work of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944) focuses on his remarkable and experimental prints.
This will be the largest exhibition of Munch’s prints in the UK for 45 years. It includes nearly 50 works from Norway’s Munch Museum alongside important prints from the British Museum collection and other loans from the UK and Europe. The 83 works on show will together demonstrate the artist’s skill and creativity in expressing the feelings and experiences of the human condition – from love and desire, to jealousy, loneliness, anxiety and grief.
A major highlight will be Munch’s The Scream which is one of the most iconic images in art history. The rare lithograph in black and white was created by Munch following a painted version and two drawings of the image. It was this black and white print that was disseminated widely during his lifetime and made him famous. Few copies survive and this is the first time any version of The Scream will have been on show in the UK for a decade.
Other highlights include the eerie Vampire II which is generally considered to be one of his most elaborate and technically accomplished prints; the controversial Madonna, an erotic image which features an explicit depiction of swimming sperm and provoked outrage at the time; and Head by Head which represents the complex relationship between human beings. All three of these prints will be displayed alongside their original matrix (the physical objects used to transfer ink onto paper) which have never been seen in the UK before.
The exhibition will also show how Munch’s artistic vision was shaped by the radical ideas expressed in art, literature, science and theatre in Europe during his lifetime. His most innovative period of printmaking, between the 1890s and the end of the First World War, coincided with a great period of societal change in Europe, which Munch experienced through constant travel across the continent. The exhibition will pay particular attention to three European cities that had a major influence on him and his printmaking – Kristiania (Oslo), Paris and Berlin. A small selection of Munch’s personal postcards and maps will be used to give a flavour of Munch’s journeys.