Edvard Munch: Graphic Works at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art

By Jenni Davidson | 12 April 2012
An image of an expressionist black and white painting of a figure screaming on a bridge
© Munch Museum, Oslo. Courtesy Gundersen Collection
Exhibition: Edvard Munch: Graphic Works from the Gundersen Collection, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, until September 23 2012

Edvard Munch’s The Scream is probably one of the most instantly recognisable modern paintings, appearing as it does in posters and parodies all over the world.

Munch related the dramatic scene, with its garish colours and skull-like face, to an angst-filled moment at sunset when the sky turned blood-red and he “felt a great, infinite scream go through nature”.

An image of a painting showing a nude female figure against a swirling red background
Madonna (1895). Hand-coloured lithograph© Munch Museum, Oslo. Courtesy Gundersen Collection
The experience clearly made a significant impression on him, because he painted four versions of the painting; one is in the National Gallery of Norway and two belong to the Munch Museum. The fourth is in a private collection.

He also made several prints on the same theme, and one of these rare works is on display here.

The picture, one of only two hand-coloured versions of the print, is the highlight of a collection of Munch lithographs and woodcuts from the Gundersen Collection, which features more than 50 of Munch’s most important prints, including several hand-coloured by the artist himself.

Pål Georg Gundersen was inspired to seek out Munch’s work after seeing The Sick Child at the National Gallery of Norway, and his collection of prints features multiple copies of the same images, repeatedly revisiting Munch’s preoccupations with love, death, melancholy and anxiety.

An image of a painting showing a male portrait shrouded in a black background
Self-portrait with Skeleton. Lithograph© Munch Museum, Oslo. Courtesy Gundersen Collection
Munch was innovative in his use of printing to disseminate his work, and he often reworked subjects to transform their emotional impact. A closer look at these prints provides an insight into what made Munch one of the most influential artists of his day.

Munch held his first solo exhibition in the UK in Edinburgh in 1931, and the works from the Gundersen Collection are supplemented by a display examining Munch’s influence in Scotland, as well as additional prints on loan to the National Galleries of Scotland from two other private collections.

  • Open 10am-5pm. Admission £7/£5.
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