His first major work, The Sick Child (1894) represents his break from impressionism and naturalism, and captures the pain and his immense sadness over his sister's death. The label quotes Munch: "Scarcely any painter has ever experienced the full grief of their subject as I did."
As a viewer moves from print to woodcut in the show, one cannot escape the obvious: Edvard Munch was extremely troubled by women and their desertion of him.
Is the man a child seeking comfort in his mother's lap? Or sympathy from a lover who seems to suck blood from his neck? Every man? Every woman? Is this a perpetual trap by women with their fangs out? (I am here to tell you it doesn’t work.) Munch was unsettled by the women’s “revolution” of the late 19th century and their growing independence.
During his later years Munch drew many nudes from the models who visited him at his home near Oslo where he lived in solitude and feared the creeping Nazis and what they would do to his art which filled the second floor of his home. Munch died in the house January 23, 1944, four years after the Nazis invaded Norway.
Last year the most colorful of his Screams sold for almost $120 million. Munch's works are the first by a Western artist to be exhibited at the National Gallery in Beijing.
The Nazis called works by him, Picasso, Klee, Matisse, Gauguin, and others, "degenerate,” and they removed 82 of Munch's pictures from German museums. Munch illustrated life's sorrows and their emotions and pain.
Wikipedia quotes Adolph Hitler: "[These] prehistoric Stone Age culture barbarians and art-stutterers can return to the caves of their ancestors and there can apply their primitive international scratching."
Enjoy “scratchings” in “the cave” at the National Gallery of Art!
The exhibition curator was Andrew Robison, Andrew W. Mellon Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings, National Gallery of Art.
What: Edvard Munch: A 150th anniversary Tribute
When: Now through Sunday, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., and from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., all other days
Metro stations: Smithsonian, L'Enfant Plaza, Archives-Navy Memorial, or Judiciary Square
For more information: 202-737-4215