Becoming Edvard Munch

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Influence, Anxiety, and Myth

Jay A. Clarke

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Out of Print

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.


The Art Institute of Chicago (2/14/09–4/26/09) 

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

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

"This wonderful catalogue is the perfect addition to the library of any admirer of the works of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch."—Yves Laberge, The Art Book

Runner-up for the award for Outstanding Exhibition Catalogue, given by the Association of Art Museum Curators
ISBN: 9780300119503
Publication Date: March 24, 2009
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the Art Institute of Chicago
232 pages, 9 x 12
48 b/w + 245 color illus.
Landscape, Innovation, and Nostalgia

The Manton Collection of British Art

Edited by Jay A.

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The Impressionist Line from Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec

Drawings and Prints from the Clark

Edited by Jay A.

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Machine Age Modernism

Prints from the Daniel Cowin Collection

Jay A. Clarke and Jonathan Black

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Nikolai Astrup

Visions of Norway

Edited by MaryAnne Stevens; With a prelude by Karl Ove Knau

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