Collection highlights experimental printmaking techniques, emotionally turbulent themes
This fall the North Carolina Museum of Art presents Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print, an exhibition highlighting 26 of the renowned artist’s haunting prints in a variety of graphic media—etchings, drypoints, woodcuts, and lithographs. Often derived from his paintings, Munch’s prints concentrate on intensely remembered moments in his life, compelling viewers to confront themes of loneliness, lust, despair, and death.
As Munch explored the emotional terrain of his life, he experimented with printmaking, unafraid to break the rules in order to more sharply realize his artistic vision. Because of the bare honesty of his imagery and his relentless inventiveness, Munch is acknowledged as one of the pioneering masters of modern art whose influence continues to be felt by artists today.
Munch has achieved rock star status with the recent sale of The Scream for almost $120 million. But he is “much more than the painter of a ludicrously expensive pop icon,” insists John Coffey, deputy director for art at the NCMA. “Munch is one of the towering image makers of modern times. His works probe the turbulent, even taboo reaches of the human heart with unflinching candor and compassion.”
Describing his artistic inspirations, Munch stated, “Without anxiety and illness I should have been like a ship without a rudder.” The artist’s anxious relationships—with his family, his lovers, and society as a whole—generate images that transcend one man’s experience and speak to universal human concerns.
Utterly consumed by his subject matter, Munch often created several versions of the same image. For example, the exhibition features two works titled The Kiss, depicting lovers in an embrace. One print is an etching; the other a woodcut. In the woodcut, the two figures are fused into a single identity—a terrifying notion to Munch. In a pair of woodcuts titled The Lonely Ones, Munch uses the same printing block carved with an image of a couple gazing out to sea. However, each print is inked in different colors, dramatically altering the emotional “temperature” of the scene.
Far from secondary to his paintings, these dynamic prints are considered his most powerful and potent works. “Walking around this gallery,” says Coffey, “you find yourself at the birth of the modern world with all its thrills and apprehensions.”
Drawn from The Museum of Modern Art’s extensive holdings of Munch graphics, this exhibition opens in Raleigh on September 23, 2012, and will be on view through February 10, 2013, in Gallery 2 of the Museum’s East Building. On February 2, 2013, the NCMA features a lecture entitled “Munch’s Modernity” by Dr. Patricia Berman, professor of art at Wellesley College.
Tickets—On sale to public September 20
Free for children 6 and under
new! COMBINED TICKETS
Still-Life Masterpieces and Edvard Munch
$15 Seniors, military, students 13+, groups of 10 or more
$10.50 Children 7–12
Tuesday–Thursday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Friday 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Online Newsroom: www.ncartmuseum.org/munchnewsroom
Exhibition Overview: www.ncartmuseum.org/munch
Remaining Tour Schedule
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, N.C.
September 23, 2012–February 10, 2013
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, N.J.
About the Exhibition
Organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. In Raleigh support is provided by Lord Corporation. This exhibition is also made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions.
About the North Carolina Museum of Art
The North Carolina Museum of Art’s permanent collection spans more than 5,000 years, from ancient Egypt to the present, making the institution one of the premier art museums in the South. The Museum’s collection provides educational, aesthetic, intellectual, and cultural experiences for the citizens of North Carolina and beyond. The 164-acre Museum Park showcases the connection between art and nature through site-specific works of environmental art. The Museum offers changing national touring exhibitions, classes, lectures, family activities, films, and concerts.
The Museum opened West Building in 2010, home to the permanent collection. The North Carolina Museum of Art, Lawrence J. Wheeler, director, is located at 2110 Blue Ridge Road in Raleigh. It is the art museum of the State of North Carolina, Beverly Eaves Perdue, governor, and an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, Linda A. Carlisle, secretary.
Hours and Admission
Admission to the Museum’s permanent collection and Museum Park is free. Museum hours are Tuesday–Thursday and Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; Closed Monday. For more information, visit www.ncartmuseum.org.