Art

Munch Ado About Nothing

Tuesday, January 30, 2018
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Although most people know the Norwegian painter Edvard Munch for his 1893 painting The Scream, his body of work is much richer than that one small canvas would suggest. In fact, it’s a testament to Munch that “Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed,” now on view at the Met Breuer, manages to be absolutely stunning while not even featuring The Scream (although it does feature a lithograph of that painting from the Met’s collection).


Instead, the show features beautiful lesser-known works, many loaned from obscure museums in Oslo. Paintings like 1924’s Starry Night, from the Munch Museum in Oslo, show what made Munch so influential—the persistent feelings of sadness and despair that seem to encircle his subjects, how palpably he rendered the chilly Scandinavian atmosphere, the distinctive, almost impressionist brushstrokes. 


With their surfeit of emotion, it’s no wonder that Munch has been called one of the fathers of Expressionism. And if the self-portraits in this exhibition are anything indication, Munch was nothing if not a tortured artist. As he once said, “To die is as if one’s eyes had been put out and one cannot see anything any more. Perhaps it is like being shut in a cellar. One is abandoned by all. They have slammed the door and are gone. One does not see anything and notices only the damp smell of putrefaction.” 


“Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed” is on view at the Met Breuer through this Sunday. See it, before these paintings go back to Oslo.


For more information, visit metmuseum.org.



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