Dutchman Van Gogh finally meets Norway's Munch

Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:22pm EDT
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By Yoruk Bahceli

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Norway’s Edvard Munch and Dutch master Vincent Van Gogh lived at the same time and both struggled to put their inner demons on canvas, but they never met in real life.

A broad collection of their paintings, which greatly influenced modern 19th-century artwork, will hang side by side for the first time at an exhibit opening at the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands opening on Friday.

By juxtaposing works like “The Scream”, Munch's best known painting of a tormented soul, against Van Gogh's "The Bridge of Trinquetaille”, the creators explore similarities in their visions of life.

Both painters broke from traditional styles, working with forms that embraced deep swirling colors or thick dabs. Though they both spent time in Paris in the mid-1880s, their paths never crossed.

“Through their experiences of suffering and pain as well as their ability to see beauty in the smallest things, they were able to render that personal experience in their art,” said Van Gogh Museum curator Maite van Dijk.

Art historians and the public alike have long compared their works, but the exhibition, which was six years in the making, offered a first chance for a formal comparative study.

Van Gogh, relatively unknown during his life, was still an influence to Munch, who wrote about the Dutch post-impressionist in his journals, which will also be on display.

“I had thought and desired, like he, not to allow my flame to become extinguished and with burning brush to paint until the end,” Munch wrote in a tribute to Van Gogh in 1933.   Continued...

A combination of photos provided by Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam to Reuters on September 22, 2015, show the painting "Self-Portrait as a Painter" by Vincent van Gogh, 1887-1888, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam (Vincent van Gogh Foundation) (L) and the painting "Self-Portrait with Palette" by Edvard Munch, 1926, Private collection, which will be presented hanging side by side for the first time at an exhibit opening at the Van Gogh Museum in the Netherlands opening Friday.   REUTERS/Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam/Handout via Reuters