Newsflash | Edvard Munch’s photographic self

Edvard Munch på sin reisekoffert I

Edvard Munch, self-portrait with valise, 1906; courtesy Munch Museum

Catch a collection of photographic self-portraits by the Norwegian artist at Scandinavia House, New York, this season

Edvard Munch (1863-1944) is best known for his painting titled The Scream of 1893, along with other richly-coloured paintings of people with hollowed eyes against swirling, warped backgrounds. But have you seen photographs by the artist before?

This winter, Scandinavia House in Manhattan, New York, presents an exhibition of photographs, prints and film made by the artist, for their first showing in the U.S.

Edvard Munch og hans husholderske

Edvard Munch, self-portrait with housekeeper, Warnemünde, 1907; courtesy Munch Museum

Through this show we experience Munch’s artistic approach via photographs he took of himself and those close to him. His experimentation with the medium is evidenced in the blurring, distortion and unique camera angles he employed to produce inventive, poetic snapshots of his life as an artist.

Curated by Dr Patricia Berman, a professor of art history at Wellesley College, The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch’s Photography features 46 copy prints along with a continually-screened compilation of the artist’s films. The exhibition coincides with Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed, currently on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Edvard Munch på stranden med pensel og palett

Edvard Munch, self-portrait on beach with brushes and palette, Warnemünde, 1907; courtesy Munch Museum

Munch took up photography in 1902, the year in which he and his lover Tulla Larsen ended a multi-year relationship. During a time in which the artist experienced emotional turmoil and poor mental health, he utilised self-portraiture as a means of experimenting with the medium of photography, and with his own form. By the 1920s he was widely viewed as one of the most important artists of his generation.

‘I have an old camera with which I have taken countless pictures of myself, often with amazing results,‘ he stated in 1930. ‘Some day when I am old, and I have nothing better to do than write my autobiography, all my self-portraits will see the light of day again.’

Scandinavia House was created by the American-Scandinavian Foundation to promote the artistic and intellectual influence of the Nordic countries. It is the leading centre for Nordic culture in the U.S., and a keen supporter of contemporary photography.

To discover more about the show, which runs until 5 March 2018, see scandinaviahouse.org

What are your unmissable shows for 2018? Drop us a line or two via editor@selfportraitmag.org 

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