The Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863–1944) is world-famous for his evocative depictions of universal human emotions and experiences––love, attraction, separation, and death. His widely reproduced painting, The Scream, captures in expressive brushwork the anxious psyche of modern man, overwhelmed by his perceptions of a cruel or indifferent world. Equally adept in printmaking as in paint, Munch exploited the directness of graphic media to intensify his artistic statements. An innovator in etching, woodcut, and lithography, Munch frequently reworked themes he explored in prior paintings and prints, simplifying forms almost to the point of abstraction and distilling his narrative to pure symbolism. His prints are often unique impressions, as Munch altered his inking from one sheet to the next in search of varied emotive possibilities from the same matrix.
We are pleased to present a selection of Munch’s graphic work, a very rare occurrence across this region, made possible through a generous loan from a Southern private collection. Those works are augmented by prints from the Epstein Family Collection, one of the most important collections of Munch’s graphic art and a major lender to the Munch print exhibition currently on view at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. Included in the JCSM exhibition are some of the artist’s most haunting images: The Kiss (1895), The Dead Mother and Her Child (1901), and Melancholy III (1902).