Graphic works by 'The Scream' artist Munch go public in Zurich
By Caroline Copley
ZURICH (Reuters) - A major private collection of the graphic works of Edvard Munch, renowned for his haunting painting "The Scream", goes on show for the first time on Friday at Zurich's Kunsthaus museum, exploring his musings on the human condition.
"Edvard Munch. 150 Master Prints" displays works on loan from an anonymous private collector ranging from his first drypoint in 1894 to the Norwegian artist's final lithograph just before his death in 1944.
Divided into sections depicting motifs such as "Angst", "Melancholy", "Vampire" and "The Kiss", the lithographs, etchings and woodcuts shed light on how Munch refined the printing process and elaborated and reworked his subjects.
"We want to show the way he thought and the way he worked," Ben Frija, a Norwegian art expert who co-curated the exhibition and connected the Kunsthaus with the private collector of Munch's works, told Reuters.
Munch took up printmaking in the hope that it would be an easier way of making money than painting, writes art historian Gerd Woll in the show's catalogue.
But the high material and printing costs as well as the expense of leasing the lithographic stones meant he ended up only making a few impressions of each print.
Opening the show are seven prints of the motif "Madonna", depicting a woman whose naked body appears to be floating against a dark background. The print is surrounded by a border containing sperm and an embryo.
In the late 19th century, the lithograph's title and content were highly controversial, and in one variation the border has been masked out and painted over by Munch, while in others the title has been shortened to 'Monna.' Continued...