NEW YORK, NY.-
Although Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (18631944) attained notoriety early in his career for his haunting depictions of human anxiety and alienation that reflected modern experience, he believed that his artistic breakthrough occurred around 1913 at the age of 50.Throughout his career, Munch regularly revisited subjects from his earlier years, exploring them with renewed inspiration and intensity. Self Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed (194043) was one of his final such works and it serves as a lens to reassess Munch's oeuvre. On view at The Met Breuer
, the exhibition Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed features 43 of the artist's compositions created over a span of six decades, including 16 self-portraits and works that have never before been seen in the United States.
The thematic arrangement of the exhibition reveals the frequency with which Munch revisited and reworked certain subjects. It presents him as an artist who was as revolutionary in the 20th century, as he was when he made a name for himself in the Symbolist era. Major themes and motifs of Munch's last paintings can be traced back to his earlier works. Displaying his early and late works together allows visitors to identify innovations in composition, treatment, and technique.
The first canvas in the exhibitionSelf Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bedis also one of the last works the artist painted. It serves as a touchstone and guide to the other works on view. This remarkable painting shows the artist's bedroom, with a door opening to the studio beyond. The artist stands emotionless between the grandfather clock, whichhaving no face or handsexists outside of time, and the bed, in which the span of a human's life takes place.
Fifteen other self-portraitsa category to which Munch returned oftenfollow the artist's path from youth to old age. These fascinating "self-scrutinies" as Munch called them are, by turns, documentary, confessional, psychological, and fictionalized.
Seven works in the exhibition are being shown in the United States for the first time: Lady in Black (1891); Puberty (1894); Jealousy (1907); Death Struggle (1915); Man with Bronchitis (1920); Self-Portrait with Hands in Pockets (1925-26), and Ashes (1925). Also on view is Sick Mood at Sunset, Despair (1892)the earliest depiction and compositional genesis of The Scream, one of the most recognizable images in modern artwhich is being displayed outside of Europe for only the second time in its history.
The exhibition includes many deeply personal works from Munch's own collection, now held by the Munch Museum, as well as works from institutions and private lenders from around the world. The paintings demonstrate Munch's liberated, self-assured painting style as well as his technical abilities, including bravura brushwork, innovative compositional structures, the incorporation of visceral scratches and marks on the canvas, and his exceptional use of intense, vibrant color.