Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth (Hardcover)

Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth By Jay A. Clarke Cover Image

Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth (Hardcover)



Two potent myths have traditionally defined our understanding of the artist Edvard Munch (1862–1944): he was mentally unstable, as his iconic work The Scream (1893) suggests, and he was radically independent, following his own singular vision. Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth persuasively challenges these entrenched perceptions.


In this book, Jay A. Clarke demonstrates that Munch was thoroughly in control of his artistic identity, a savvy businessman skilled in responding to the market and shaping popular opinion. Moreover, the author shows that Munch was keenly aware of the art world of his day, adopting motifs, styles, and techniques from a wide variety of sources, including many Scandinavian artists. By presenting Munch’s paintings, prints, and drawings in relation to those of European contemporaries, including Harriet Backer, James Ensor, Vincent van Gogh, Max Klinger, Christian Krohg, and Claude Monet, Clarke reveals often surprising connections and influences. This interpretive approach, grounded in Munch’s diaries and letters, period criticism, and the artworks themselves, reintroduces Munch as an artist who cultivated myths both visual and personal.


Becoming Edvard Munch features beautiful color reproductions of approximately 150 works, including 75 paintings and 75 works on paper by Munch and his peers.


Jay A. Clarke is Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Product Details ISBN: 9780300119503
ISBN-10: 030011950X
Publisher: Art Institute of Chicago
Publication Date: March 24th, 2009
Pages: 232
Language: English
Runner-up for the award for Outstanding Exhibition Catalogue, given by the Association of Art Museum Curators
— Outstanding Exhibition Catalogue

". . . a hand-held gallery, as beautifully designed as it is written."--Print Quarterly

— Print Quarterly

". . . makes a convincing case that Munch is indeed misperceived."--Failure Magazine

— Failure Magazine