Edvard Munch: Love and Angst

Thames & Hudson. Jun. 2019. 224p. ed. by ed. by Giulia Bartrum. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780500480465. $49.95. FINE ARTS
Love and all its conflicting emotions are expressed in the works of Norwegian expressionist painter Edvard Munch (1863–1944). Accompanying an exhibition focusing on his graphic works, this catalog, edited by British Museum curator Bartrum, traces the development of the artist through loss and trauma, changing European influences, and his preoccupation with negative space. It further demonstrates the enormous body of work he produced during years of despair and depression. Printmaking techniques are discussed in great depth, with excellent illustrations of prints in various stages serving to clarify the process. Essays by a variety of experts in the field delve into Munch’s life, the sense of anguish on display in his work, as well as what fueled his enormous creative drive and the meticulous care with which he worked. Although little can compare with personal experience of these works, this scholarly retrospective, including an interview with Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaård (“My Struggle” trilogy), provides an excellent example of elegant prose and deep affinity with the artist.
VERDICT This work takes readers beyond The Scream and into Munch’s creative process and deeply felt emotions. Disturbing at times but always moving and a reminder of the human experience we all share.
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