EYE CANDY

Revisit Edvard Munch’s Little Known Photographs, Which Are as Eerie and Anguished as His Paintings

Edvard Munch à la Marat ved badekaret på Dr. Jacobsons klinikk
Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

A few years before Edvard Munch created his famously anguished 1893 painting The Scream, the Norwegian artist remarked that photographs “will never compete with the brush and the palette, until such time as photographs can be taken in Heaven or Hell.” It wasn’t long, though, before Munch discovered he could achieve startlingly unearthly results with the medium without having to traveling to either place; instead, he used what was then seen as the camera’s shortcomings, like distortion and blurring, to achieve the same eerie, haunted feel of his paintings. Munch’s photography reached its peak after a fraught relationship ended—including a gunshot wound that permanently damaged two of his fingers—and he entered a new stage of his life, starting with a stay in a clinic in Copenhagen in the early 1900s, where he was recommended to keep very limited company. Unsurprisingly, then, nearly two-thirds of the images on view for the first time in the States in The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch’s Photography at New York’s Scandinavia House are self-portraits, many of which breeze past nude selfie territory and into the psychological. See those portraits of Munch and more of those closest to him, from the clinic’s nurses to his pup Fips, here.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Munch’s Housekeeper at Ekely, 1927.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait ‘à la Marat,’ Beside a Bathtub at Dr. Jacobson’s Clinic, 1908-09.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Edvard Munch and Rosa Meissner in Warnemünde, 1907.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait at the Breakfast Table at Dr. Jacobson’s Clinic, 1908-1909.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Munch’s Dog Fips’*, 1930.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait on Beach with Brushes and Palette in Warnemünde, 1907.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Nurse in Black, Jacobson’s Clinic, 1908-09.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait Wearing Glasses and Seated Before Two Watercolors at Ekely, ca. 1930.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait in a Hat in Profile Facing Right, 1930.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait with Model for a National Monument, Kragerø, 1909-10.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Edvard Munch Posing Nude in Åsgårdstrand, 1903.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait with Valise, 1906.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Nurse in White at Jacobson’s Clinic, 1908-09.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait with Housekeeper in Warnemünde, 1907.

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Edvard Munch, courtesy of Munch Museum

Edvard Munch, Paintings in the Winter Studio in Ekely, 1931-32.