An exhibition of 40 prints by Norways greatest artist, Edvard Munch (1863-1944), will go on display at the National Gallery of Ireland
from 19 September until 6 December 2009. Thanks to the extraordinary, comprehensive collection of the Munch Museum , which is the result of his legacy to the city of Oslo , this will be the most extensive exhibition of Munchs graphic works to go on display in Ireland, says Raymond Keaveney, Director of the National Gallery. We are delighted to be able to show the finest examples of his prints spanning 50 years which illustrate both the depth of his skill as a printmaker and his keen interpretation and analysis of the human character.
Munchs revolutionary contribution to the art of printmaking and his extraordinary commentaries on life are exemplified in this exhibition of such powerful images in lithograph, etching and drypoint media, most notably, Death and the Woman (1894); The Scream (1895); Madonna (1895); and Jealousy I (1896). The exhibition will also include his portraits of the poet, Stéphane Mallarmé; Swedish playwright, August Strindberg; the philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche as well as one of his most hypnotic self-portrait prints of 1895. Munchs revolutionary woodcuts, printed in colour using an innovative puzzling technique, will also feature, among them Moonlight I (1896); Two Human Beings, The Lonely Ones (1899); and The Girls on the Bridge (1918).
Munch began making prints in 1894, a practice which gave him great scope in exploiting the expressive qualities of printmaking and which had the added benefit of promoting his paintings. His earliest works were Impressionist in style, but he achieved an artistic breakthrough, and notoriety, with his painting, The Sick Child, in 1896. This was the first of many works that explore human, psychological suffering, reflecting his own painful childhood experiences. Despite a complete mental collapse in 1908, Munch continued to contribute to important exhibitions, most notably the Cologne Sonderbund show of 1912 in which he was hailed (alongside Van Gogh and Gauguin) as a precursor of Expressionism.