Norway`s museums open their doors to present the largest retrospective of one of Modernism's greatest artists.
By Grace Piney
Norway celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch (Norway, 1863-1944) with an extensive program of activities that includes concerts, films, lectures, creative workshops and discussion and analysis of the artist’s work..
Munch 150 is the title of the exhibition on view at two of Oslo’s most important museums: the National Gallery and the Munch Museum. The exhibit presents works from all periods of the painter’s career, and is the most ambitious presentation of the work of Edvard Munch to date.
The collection features paintings, lithographs and drawings from the museums’ permanent collections, as well as works on loan from public and private institutions, both in Norway and abroad. In total, 220 paintings and 50 works on paper have been gathered for this historic celebration.
Munch 150 is divided into two periods: 1882-1903, displayed at the National Gallery, and 1904-1944 at the Munch Museum. The curators went to great lengths to reconstruct, as much as was possible, The Frieze of Life (1902) and Reinhardt Frisch (1906-1907), which are considered great achievements of the exhibition.
Perhaps the most memorable part of the display are several versions presented of Munch’s famous painting The Scream; two of them had been stolen, one was recovered with permanent damages, and the third was auctioned earlier this year for $120 million.
Audun Eckhoff, Director of the National Gallery said, "this is the only chance for the public to view such a vast exhibition of the work of Edvard Munch. It only happens once a century".
A major achievement for the conservation of Munch's work was announced in the days leading to the exhibition. A Spanish architectural firm has won the bid to design a new site for the Munch Museum, which is not large enough to contain all the works in its collection. The new museum should have been ready between 2014 and 2015, but political pressures have created a tangle of disagreements.
EDVARD MUNCH. Bathing Men, 1907–08.
Finally the authorities have reached an agreement on the location, which will be around the area of Bjørvika, close to the port and near the new opera house. The "Lambda", as the project is called, could be ready in 2017 or 2018.
Meanwhile, Munch 150 can be seen at the National Gallery and the Munch Museum in Oslo from June until October 13, 2013. ■
PHOTOS: © Munch Museum.
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