ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth
June 10–October 15, 2023
The Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944) is best known for his vivid depictions of love, anxiety, and death. Raised in a strict religious household, one impacted by the early loss of his mother and sister, Munch once poetically stated "sickness, insanity, and death were the black angels that guarded my cradle." The artist has been understood as an isolated and melancholy figure, and his early years were indeed marked by struggle as he faced critical censure and battled addiction and mental illness. By his mid-thirties, after Munch sought natural cures and medical attention, he found emotional stability and commercial success at home and in Germany, where he lived for many years. When he returned to Norway for short stays, settling there permanently in 1909, Munch lived in a variety of rented and purchased residences in the countryside, preferring natural surroundings to the urban environment.
While Munch is best known for expertly capturing emotion in human figures, many of his works feature landscape. This exhibition examines how he animated nature to express psychological states, celebrate the abundance of the earth, and ponder the mysteries of the forest during a time of rapid industrialization. In his paintings and prints of the Oslo Fjord shoreline in Norway and the Baltic coast in Germany, Munch explored the changes brought about by increased tourism, partially the result of health-reform initiatives extolling the virtues of outdoor activity. Munch developed his own worldview that connected science, human biology, plant life, and the solar system. His landscape-based prints, drawings, and paintings from the 1890s to the 1940s reveal an artist fascinated by humankind's interaction with the earth and the impact of one on the other.
Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth features brilliantly hued landscapes, stunning figure portraits, and an impressive selection of drawings and prints, including a lithograph of the artist’s most celebrated work, The Scream. The exhibition includes thirty-five works from the Munchmuseet’s world-renowned collection, and more than forty paintings and prints drawn from private collections and rarely exhibited publicly.
The Clark is the only U.S. venue for this exhibition. Trembling Earth will be presented at the Museum Barberini in Potsdam from November 18, 2023–April 1, 2024, and at Munchmuseet (MUNCH) in Oslo from April 27–August 24, 2024.
Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth is co-organized by the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts; Munchmuseet (MUNCH), Oslo, Norway; and the Museum Barberini, Potsdam, Germany, and curated by Jay A. Clarke, Rothman Family Curator, Art Institute of Chicago; Trine Otte Bak Nielsen, curator, Munchmuseet; and Jill Lloyd, independent curator. Generous funding for presentation at the Clark and Munchmuseet is provided by the Asbjorn Lunde Foundation, Inc.
Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth is made possible by Diane and Andreas Halvorsen. Major funding is provided by Carol and Richard Seltzer, with additional support from Lady Gibbons, Robert D. Kraus, the S & L Marx Foundation, and the Norwegian Consulate General, New York. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.