Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Melancholy, 1894 - 96 Oil on canvas 80 x 100.5 cm KODE Bergen Art Museum, The Rasmus Meyer Collection
Norway's Kode museum loaned the works.
Dorian Batycka, May 31, 2022
A show opening today at the Courtauld Institute in London will display nearly a dozen paintings by Edvard Munch that have never been seen by the British public.
The exhibition traces the Norwegian painter’s development from the 1880s through 18 key works on loan from the KODE Art Museum in Bergen, 11 of which haven’t been shown in Britain. It highlights several themes key to Munch’s rise to fame.
In Summer Night. Inger on the Beach (1889), for example, one of the painter’s earlier works on display, Munch marks an important shift toward conveying psychological undertones, a style that would come to define his oeuvre.
“This is an unprecedented opportunity to see the major works from one of the world’s great collections of paintings by Edvard Munch,” said the show’s curator, Barnaby Wright. “Visitors will find Munch’s seminal early paintings extraordinary, if less familiar.”
The exhibition ultimately establishes a narrative that connects the trajectory of Munch’s career as a painter, beginning with Socialist Realism, naturalism, and the legacy of French Impressionism, through to the visceral depictions of psychological torment and trauma that he would become known for.
Included in the exhibition are numerous works from the “Frieze of Life” series, instantly recognizable for Munch’s rich use of color and composition that reflect the deeply emotional state of the subjects he was portraying.