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First Five Books
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Carrie Mae Weems
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Contributions by Johan H. Langaard and Sigurd Willoch
Published in 1965
110 pages, fully illustrated
This catalogue accompanies the 1965 retrospective exhibition of the influential Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. Included in the publication are two essays, entitled "The Early Munch" and "The Late Munch." Sigurd Willoch details Munch's early years as a peripatetic artist, conflicted over ill-fated relationships, as well as the early deaths of both his mother and sister. Johan Langaard recounts Munch's later years, secluded in a converted farm on the outskirts of Oslo, where he tirelessly worked until his death in 1944. The catalogue also includes a discussion by Louise Averill Svendsen on Munch's work on paper, a chronology, exhibition history, bibliography, and 54 color and black-and-white reproductions.
When Munch reached for the sublime in his art, as he did in every period of his career, he found the perfect expression for his inmost feelings and thoughts, whether his medium was painting or printmaking. All his production—masterpieces, incomplete sketches, and designs—was permeated by the same poignant, impressionable sensitivity, and this sensitivity made Edvard Munch first and last a portrayer of man. He was a painter driven by an all-compelling need to express himself. The work of his later years did not have the same influence on the development of European art that his production in the 1890's had, but the enduring value of his art is not the radical form language, which at one time so shocked his contemporaries; it is his uncompromising, tireless response to his artistic conscience.