There is little doubt that the celebrated Norwegian painter and printmaker Edvard Munch (1863-1944) had the greatest impact on expressionism of any Scandinavian artist. His intense, evocative treatment of psychological and emotional themes exerted a major influence on the art of the twentieth century. Often biographical, his output offers a fascinating insight into the psyche of an artist. No artist observed and painted himself throughout his life as frequently as Munch, and few have revealed their weaknesses and anxieties as frankly. This handsome volume, the catalogue of an exhibition at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm, the Munch Museet, Oslo, and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, contains beautiful reproductions of 150 paintings, drawings and rarely seen photographic self-portraits of startling originality. The curator and scholar Iris Muller-Westermann sets them in context in her incisive account of the artist's life and career, and Merete Mazzarella examines how many of Munch's preoccupations remain relevant today.
Edvard Munch: By Himself sheds light for the first time on the uniquely wide range of Munch's self-portraits, enabling us to trace the visual self-reflections of one of the most influential figures in modern art.
Iris Muller-Westermann is a curator of International Art at the Moderna Museet Stockholm. A Munch specialist she has curated numerous exhibitions and has written and contributed to many publications. Merete Mazzarella is an essayist and columnist. She is acting Professor of Swedish Literature at the University of Helsinki and her most recent book was The Lady and the Crocodile (Trevi 1995)