Working during the late 19th-century, Edvard Munch and Vincent van Gogh produced artworks that oozed with emotional content and innovative individual styles. For the first time, both are featured together in a blockbuster exhibition in Oslo, Norway.
The paintings and artistic aims of Edvard Munch (1863­–1944) and Vincent van Gogh (1853–1890) are — according to critics and experts — strikingly similar. However, these connections have never been comprehensively featured in the context of an exhibition, until now. The Munch Museum and the Van Gogh Museum have teamed together to illuminate this artistic parallel in Oslo, Norway. The exhibition, “Van Gogh + Munch,” challenges established perceptions and “takes a closer look at their artistic point of departure, the influences they were exposed to, the development in style and technique and what artistic goals they set for themselves, and in this way creates a deeper understanding of why these artists are so often compared to each other.”

Edvard Munch, “Starry Night,” ca. 1922-24, (c) Munch Museum 2015

Vincent van Gogh, “Self-portrait with Grey Felt Hat,” ca. 1887-88, oil on canvas, 17 x 14 in. (c) Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam

“Van Gogh + Munch” features nearly 75 paintings and 30 artworks on paper, including 10 comparative works by additional artists. The exhibition’s narrative surrounds both artists’ travels in Paris, where the modernizing artistic environment encouraged each artist to find his own voice and aesthetic. The museum reports that, “although their works may be different with regard to motif and implementation, they were both preoccupied with giving expression to the condition of modern man, and they accomplished this by pressing painterly means to the utmost: a vibrant palette, a highly stylized idiom, personal and bold brushwork and unconventional compositions.”

Edvard Munch, “Self-portrait,” 1886, oil on canvas, 13 x 9 1/2 in. (c) National Museum Norway 2015

The exhibition also includes the artists’ writings in addition to a catalogue with contributions by leading art historians Jill Lloyd, Uwe Schneede, and Reinhold Heller. “Van Gogh + Munch” opened on May 9 and will be on view through September 6.
To learn more, visit the Munch Museum.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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