EDVARD MUNCH looking at himself


Edvard Munch, 1863-1944, Norwegian

from an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, Winter 2017/18


As is known, the artist suffered throughout his life from fear of madness, from anxiety and depression.

The museum noted that the artist said that the second half of his life was a battle just to keep himself upright.


The artist’s main themes are the cycle of human life; the mystery of women and the vagaries of love;  chance and suffering.

And, on the edge of our incomprehension, the unmediated experience of the horror of the workings of the natural world expressed in one instant in one scream one day when he was out walking with friends.


Despite or because of this, the artist left a very large oeuvre of paintings and prints.

Many are a record of the suffering of his life. 




Sick Mood at Sunset: Despair, 1892, oil on canvas. 

Thielska Galleriet, Stockholm


The artist was in Nice when he painted this.  There the artist noted this in his journal for January 22, 1892 about a memory from years earlier in Norway:


“I was walking down the road with two friends.  The sun set.  I felt a tinge of melancholy.

Suddenly, the sky became a bloody red.  I stopped, leaned against the railing dead tired and I looked at the flaming clouds that hung like blood and a sword over the blue-blood fjord and city.

My friends walked on.  I stood there trembling with fright.  And I felt a loud, unending scream piercing nature.”






The Scream, 1896, lithographic crayon. 

Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. 

One of several lithographs on the subject after the artist had painted 4 tableaux on this subject in different media.






Despair, 1894, oil on canvas. 

Munch Museum, Oslo



Influenced in his style first by Impressionism and then German Expressionism, the goal of the artist’s experiments in technique was to the end of expressing emotion as clearly as possible.  





Self-Portrait, 1886, oil on canvas.

 Najsonalmuseet for Kunst, Arkitektur og Design, Oslo.

The first which the artist signed.





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Self-Portrait under the Mask of a Woman, 1893, tempera on unprimed wood panel. 

 Munch Museum, Oslo






Self-Portrait with Cigarette, 1895, oil on canvas. 

Najsonalmuseet for Kunst, Arkitektur og Design, Oslo





Self-Portrait in Hell, 1903, oil on canvas. 

Munch Museum, Oslo






Self-Portrait with Brushes, 1904,

Munch Museum, Oslo







Self-Portrait with a Bottle of Wine, 1906. 

Munch Museum, Oslo





Self-Portrait with the Spanish Flu, 1919, oil on canvas. 

Najsonalmuseet for Kunst, Arkitektur og Design, Oslo





Sleepless Night:  Self-Portrait in Inner Turmoil,1920, oil on canvas. 

Munch Museum, Oslo




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The Artist and His Model (Annie Fjeldbu), 1919-21, oil on canvas.  

Munch Museum, Oslo.




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The Artist and His Model (Annie Fjeldbu), 1919-1921, oil on canvas. 

Munch Museum, Oslo





Man with Bronchitis, 1920, oil on canvas. 

Munch Museum, Oslo




The Night Wanderer, 1923-24, oil on canvas. 

Munch Museum, Oslo





Self-Portrait with Hands in Pockets, 1925-26,

Munch Museum, Oslo





Self-Portrait with Bottles, 1938. 

Munch Museum, Oslo





Self-Portrait by the Window, 1940.

Munch Museum, Oslo.

The artist at his house in Ekley, Oslo.  The last house in which he lived and for almost 20 years





Self-Portrait:  Between the Clock and the Bed, 1940–43


The museum noted that Munch called his self-portraits ‘self scrutinies’. 

This work between a clock and an empty bed against a background of his paintings is taken to be a contemplation of his life’s work and a forward look to his death. 


In 1940, the artist made a bequest of a vast number of his prints, paintings and also 13 sculptures to the city of Oslo.





Between the Wall and the Bed, 1981, encaustic on canvas on three panels. 

Jasper Johns, American born 1930.  MOMA, New York.

The artist’s response to Edvard Munch’s painting of the same name.