Edvard Munch - Girl's Head Against the Shore

Edvard Munch: “Girl's Head Against the Shore”, 1899
color woodcut, framed: 78.11 x 67.63 x 3.49 cm
(30 3/4 x 26 5/8 x 1 3/8 in.)
Epstein Family Collection

Edvard Munch: Color in Context - NGA Washington

The National Gallery of Art, Washington, presents ‘Edvard Munch: Color in Context,’ an exhibition of 21 prints that considers the choice, combinations, and meaning of color in light of spiritualist principles. September 3, 2017, through January 28, 2018.

Source: National Gallery of Art, Washington

The majority of the prints in the exhibition come from the Epstein Family Collection, the largest and finest gathering of the artist's graphic work outside of his native Norway. Their holdings are being steadily donated to the Gallery.

Early in his life, Munch was exposed to spiritualism and aural concepts that became popular on an international scale at the end of the 19th century. His childhood vicar was the well-known spiritualist Reverend E. F. B. Horn. Additionally, as a young artist in Oslo, Norway, Munch would meet his friends directly across the street from traveling medium A. Stojohann's "Scientific Public Library." Given such exposure, Munch would have been open to the notion of spiritual power, four-dimensional planes, and invisible forces. It is known that he believed he could see energies radiating from specific colors.

Many of Munch's contemporaries, including Paul Gauguin (1848–1903), Maurice Denis (1870–1943), and Odilon Redon (1840–1916), were well aware of these new philosophies, and their work bears some general relation to them. In Munch's use of color, which intensified psychological and expressive meaning, the correlation with theosophical theories and ideas is specific.

"We are indebted to the Epstein family for their extraordinary commitment to the Gallery and to the understanding of Edvard Munch's art," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "It is an honor to dedicate this exhibition to the memory of Lionel Epstein, who passed away earlier this year."

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