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Edvard Munch: love and angst (British Museum)

Giulia Bartrum, Karl Ove Knausgaard


A fascinating examination of Munch’s prints, which were central to his creative process and established his reputation as an artist

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Edvard Munch (1863–1944) is best known today as a painter, but his reputation was in fact established through his prints, which were central to his creative process. His printmaking was experimental and innovative, and he continually revisited the subjects of his paintings in striking prints, in which he evoked a wide range of emotion and mood through the use of varied techniques.

Munch’s early life in the industrial town of Kristiania (renamed Oslo in 1925) was marked by sickness and poverty. His first works centred on the expression of deep emotional experiences, specifically the deaths of his mother and teenage sister, as well as passionate yet unhappy love affairs of which his deeply religious father disapproved. Encouraged by his encounters with a Bohemian society of artists, writers and poets, he developed a visual landscape that was a radical deviation from the slick society portraits and grand Scandinavian landscapes then so much in vogue. His efforts attracted considerable attention and much criticism, and he practised with little financial success as a painter for ten years before he started to gain his reputation as a profoundly innovative printmaker.

Written by a team of experts, and with an interview by writer Karl Ove Knausgaard, this book will shed new light on the production of some of Munch’s most remarkable works.

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'Fully illustrated … excellent essays on various aspects of Munch’s activity as a print-maker'

'A gripping excavation into a little explored corner of Munch’s oeuvre: there is so much more to him than The Scream. Beautifully intense'
The Lady

'Munch’s best prints crackle with energy and are still exciting and relevant now. This book is warmly recommended'
Printmaking Today

'A fine study which gets behind the popular image to reveal the human story'
Book Murmuration

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Hardback

Size: 28.0 x 23.0 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Illustrations: 186

Publication date: 11 April 2019

ISBN: 9780500480465

Contents List

Foreword by the directors of the British Museum and the Munch Museum; Sponsor’s foreword • Introduction • 1. Transfigured continent: Impressions from Munch’s Europe • 2. The inner soul of an artist: Munch’s background and the development of his Frieze of Life • 3. Munch and the world of printmaking • 4. Munch and the theatre in Paris • 5. ‘Is art influenced by too much business?’: Cultural capital and the market for Munch • 6. Plates, stones and blocks: Munch’s printing matrices • Reflections on Edvard Munch: an interview with Karl Ove Knausgaard • Checklist of works in the exhibition • Chronology; Checklist of exhibited items; Notes; Selected bibliography; Prints by Munch in UK public collections; Acknowledgments; Picture credits; List of contributors; Index

About the Author

Giulia Bartrum is Curator of German Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.

Karl Ove Knausgaard is a Norwegian author, known for six autobiographical novels titled My Struggle.