Art: “Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Born and raised in Norway, Edvard Munch (1863–1944) was one of the most celebrated and controversial artists of his generation. With only brief formal training in painting, Munch was largely self-taught. He was a prolific artist, creating approximately 1,750 paintings, 18,000 prints, and 4,500 watercolors, in addition to sculpture, graphic art, theater design, and film. Munch was associated with the Symbolist and Expressionist movements and their legacies. He exhibited widely throughout Europe, affecting the trajectory of modernism in France, Germany, and Norway. His influence can be seen in the work of such artists as Georg Baselitz, Marlene Dumas, Katharina Grosse, Asger Jorn, Bridget Riley, and Jasper Johns, among others.

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrai - Between the Clock and the Bed, 1940–43

Edvard Munch, Self-Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed, 1940–43; oil on canvas; 58 7/8 x 47 7/16 in. (149.5 x 120.5 cm); photo: courtesy the Munch Museum, Oslo

Although Munch attained notoriety early in his career for his haunting depictions of human anxiety and alienation that reflected modern experience, he believed that his artistic breakthrough occurred around 1913 at the age of 50.Throughout his career, Munch regularly revisited subjects from his earlier years, exploring them with renewed inspiration and intensity. Self Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed (1940–43) was one of his final such works and it serves as a lens to reassess Munch’s body of work. Opening November 15 at The Met Breuer, the exhibition Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed (November 15, 2017February 4, 2018, The Met Breuer, Floor 3) will feature 43 of the artist’s compositions created over a span of six decades, including 16 self-portraits and works that have never before been seen in the United States.

The exhibition was on view at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (June 24–October 9, 2017). After the New York presentation, it will be on view at Munch Museum, Oslo (May 12–September 9, 2018).

The thematic arrangement of the exhibition will reveal the frequency with which Munch revisited and reworked certain subjects. It will present him as an artist who was as revolutionary in the 20th century, as he was when he made a name for himself in the Symbolist era. Major themes and motifs of Munch’s last paintings can be traced back to his earlier works. Displaying his early and late works together allows visitors to identify innovations in composition, treatment, and technique.

The first canvas in the exhibition—Self Portrait: Between the Clock and the Bed—is also one of the last works the artist painted. It will serve as a touchstone and guide to the other works on view. This remarkable painting shows the artist’s bedroom, with a door opening to the studio beyond. The artist stands emotionless between the grandfather clock, which—having no face or hands—exists outside of time, and the bed, in which the span of a human’s life takes place.

Fifteen other self-portraits—a category to which Munch returned often—follow the artist’s path from youth to old age. These fascinating “self-scrutinies” as Munch called them are, by turns, documentary, confessional, psychological, and fictionalized.

Seven works in the exhibition will be shown in the United States for the first time: Lady in Black (1891); Puberty (1894); Jealousy (1907); Death Struggle (1915); Man with Bronchitis (1920); Self-Portrait with Hands in Pockets (1925-26), and Ashes (1925). Also on view will be Sick Mood at Sunset, Despair (1892)—the earliest depiction and compositional genesis of The Scream, one of the most recognizable images in modern art—which is being displayed outside of Europe for only the second time in its history.

The exhibition will include many deeply personal works from Munch’s own collection, now held by the Munch Museum, as well as works from institutions and private lenders from around the world. The paintings demonstrate Munch’s liberated, self-assured painting style as well as his technical abilities, including bravura brushwork, innovative compositional structures, the incorporation of visceral scratches and marks on the canvas, and his exceptional use of intense, vibrant color.

The exhibition is curated by Gary Garrels, Elise S. Haas, Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, with Caitlin Haskell Associate Curator of Painting and Sculpture; Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chairman, Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Sabine Rewald, Jacques and Natasha Gelman Curator, and Michele Wijegoonaratna, Research Associate; and Jon-Ove Steihaug, Director of Collections and Exhibitions, the Munch Museum, Oslo.

At The Met Breuer, exhibition design is by Michael Langley, Exhibition Design Manager; graphics are by Chelsea Amato and Anna Rieger, Graphic Designers; and lighting is by Clint Ross Coller and Richard Lichte, Lighting Design Managers, all of The Met Design Department.

A fully illustrated catalog will accompany the exhibition. Edited by Gary Garrels, Jon-Ove Steihaug, and Sheena Wagstaff, the publication features a foreword by celebrated Norwegian author Karl Ove Knausgaard. It includes essays by Patricia Berman, Theodora L. and Stanley H. Feldberg Professor of Art, Wellesley College; Allison Morehead, associate professor, Queen’s University, Ontario; Richard Schiff, Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art, University of Texas at Austin; and Mille Stein, paintings conservator, Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU). Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, the catalog is available in The Met Store (hardcover, $45). The catalog is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

In conjunction with the exhibition, conductor Leon Botstein, soprano Kirsten Chambers, and The Orchestra Now will perform Arnold Schoenberg‘s operatic monodrama Erwartung (Expectation) on December 3 at 2 pm in the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium (The Met Fifth Avenue). The program, which is part of the MetLiveArts Sight and Sound series, is called Schoenberg, Munch, and Expressionism. Tickets start at $30 (series, $75).

On Saturday, January 13, at 11 am and 2 pm, Family Tours at The Met Breuer, for families with children ages 3–11, will explore the exhibition. Space is limited; places will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Free with Museum admission.

The exhibition is made possible by Leonard A. Lauder. It is supported by an Indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. It is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and The Munch Museum, Oslo.

Georg Baselitz: Drinkers and Orange Eaters at Skarstedt Upper East Side

Skarstedt UES will present a comprehensive exhibition of work by renowned German artist Georg Baselitz at their 79th Street gallery, which will feature 12 paintings from both his Drinkers and Orange Eaters series’, dating from 1981-82. The exhibition brings together paintings from public and private collections to demonstrate the breadth of Baselitz’s creativity during this two-year period. The Drinkers and Orange Eaters remain some of Baselitz’s most expressive and vividly colorful works.

Georg Baselitz Orangenesser, 1982 oil on canvas 57 1/2 x 44 4/5 inches (146 x 114 cm.)

Georg Baselitz, Orangenesser, 1982, oil on canvas
57 1/2 x 44 4/5 inches (146 x 114 cm.)

Georg Baselitz was born in Deutschbaselitz, Germany, in 1938. He attended the Hochschule für bildende und angewandte Kunste in East Berlin in 1956 and the West Berlin school from 1957 – 1963. In 1965, he was awarded a scholarship for a year’s residential study at the Villa Romana in Florence. Very early in his career, Baselitz emerged as a pioneer of German Neo-Expressionism, rebelling against the dominance of abstract painting, proposing in its place a very personal, expressive figurative art rooted in the art brut movement. In his early works, he concentrated on several figure types, including heroes, rebels, and shepherds. From 1969 on, Baselitz painted his subjects upside-down. He adopted this method to stress the artifice of painting. The artist is also well known for his sculpture and printmaking. Drawing upon a varied collection of influences outside of mainstream Modernism, including art of the Mannerist period, African sculptures, imagery rooted in the Art Brut, as well as the Existentialist art and literature of Dada and Surrealism, Baselitz developed a distinct artistic language.

 

At the time these works were painted, Baselitz found himself surrounded by the new images of a younger artistic generation taking up German Expressionism as a spontaneous experience, practiced using clowns and checked patterns. Baselitz’s use of vibrant reds and yellows—even a harlequin motif—lends a theatrical quality to his work, while the depiction of glassware and fruit adds a playful element of celebration and bacchanalia.

Georg Baselitz Ohne Titel (B. fur Larry-Remix) (26.VII.06), Untitled (B. for Larry-Remix), 2006 feather pen and watercolor on paper 22 3/8 x 15 1/4 inches (56.8 x 38.7 cm.)

Georg Baselitz, Ohne Titel (B. fur Larry-Remix) (26.VII.06), Untitled (B. for Larry-Remix), 2006
feather pen and watercolor on paper
22 3/8 x 15 1/4 inches (56.8 x 38.7 cm.)

In these two figurative series’, Baselitz reacts to the work of his German Expressionist predecessors — Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Emil Nolde, among others—paying homage to his artistic forefathers while simultaneously establishing distance from them. Championed as a leading exponent of German Neo-Expressionist painting, Baselitz displays a newfound freedom from ideological pressures with his Drinkers and Orange Eaters. Baselitz explains, “The ’80s helped me to rearrange everything; I was able to set up a whole range of ideas and experiences anew, which meant I was able to break everything down so I could make something out of it again.”(1)

Furthermore, Baselitz’s impulsive, tactile method of working creates a dynamic and almost animated surface, composed of fractured imagery. Thickly applied paint forms the rudimentary features of his figures, while his forceful handling of the medium emphasizes individual brushstrokes. Baselitz described his painting style for the Orange Eaters as “boxing with both hands, so to speak.”(2) He uses form, style, and color to shatter traditional assumptions—turning his subjects on their heads in order to impart meaning. Baselitz deliberately rendered his figures upside-down on the canvas, defying conventional visual interpretation. This inverted orientation frees his work from connotation without entering the realm of pure abstraction. Beyond the human form, Baselitz’s Drinkers and Orange

Georg Baselitz 6 Schöne, 4 hässliche Porträts: Schönes Porträt 2  (6 Beautiful, 4 Ugly Portraits: Beautiful Portrait 2), 1987-1988 oil on board

Georg Baselitz
6 Schöne, 4 hässliche Porträts: Schönes Porträt 2
(6 Beautiful, 4 Ugly Portraits: Beautiful Portrait 2), 1987-1988
oil on board

Eaters represent a critical time in history and an evolving ideology of liberation.

Baselitz’s work has been widely exhibited throughout the United States and Europe. Major retrospectives of his work have been held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1983; which later traveled to Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Kunsthalle Basel); Centre Pompidou, Paris (1993); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1995; traveled to Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, and Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin); Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1996 and 2011); and Royal Academy of Arts, London (2007). Baselitz has represented Germany at the Venice Biennale (1980) and participated in Documenta 5 and 7 in Kassel, Germany (1972 and 1982). Georg Baselitz lives and works in Basel (Switzerland), at the Ammersee (Bavaria, Germany) and in Imperia (Italian Riviera).

Skarstedt is working closely with the artist on this seminal presentation, as well as a detailed catalogue published on the occasion of the exhibition. Georg Baselitz: Drinkers and Orange Eaters will be on view at Skarstedt (20 East 79th Street) from May 11 through June 26, 2015.

METAPHORS FOR EXPRESSION: CONTEMPORARY GERMAN ART

GEORG BASELITZ, GÜNTHER FÖRG, MARTIN KIPPENBERGER, ALBERT OEHLEN, SIGMAR POLKE

APRIL 10 – JUNE 8, 2013
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 am-6 pm, Monday by appointment

Skarstedt Gallery London (23 Old Bond Street, City of Westminster, London W1S 4PZ, UK, t: +44 207 499 5200, f: +44 207 491 8805, london@skarstedt.com) is pleased to present an exhibition of singular works by leading contemporary German artists. Alternating between bold colour and sombre tones, humour and quiet reflection, the discourse of German artistic expression is contemplated in the works of Georg Baselitz, Günther Förg, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen and Sigmar Polke.

METAPHORS FOR EXPRESSION: CONTEMPORARY GERMAN ART  - Georg Baselitz - Orangenesser (Remix), 2005

METAPHORS FOR EXPRESSION: CONTEMPORARY GERMAN ART – Georg Baselitz – Orangenesser (Remix), 2005 (left)

Georg Baselitz’s Orangenesser (Remix), 2005 attests to the prophecy of Eugène Delacroix’s succinct statement. Revisiting his seminal theme of the orange-eater from the 1980s, the upside-down figure painted into a simple composition reflects Baselitz’s concern with the formal qualities of picture- making. Through inversion, Baselitz distorts reality and renders the figure unfamiliar as the picture moves from figuration towards abstraction. In Baselitz’s drawings Untitled (Drinker) and (Drummer) also included in the exhibition, this technique of disorientation through inversion is similarly at play. Baselitz further distances the works in the Remix series from their forerunners as well as from his past, by painting from photographs of the earlier pieces. The pared down canvas and the rapid brush strokes of the Remix paintings demonstrate on a monumental scale the artist’s continued development through this self- referential activity.

METAPHORS FOR EXPRESSION: CONTEMPORARY GERMAN ART - 15 Preis, 1987 by Martin Kippenberger

METAPHORS FOR EXPRESSION: CONTEMPORARY GERMAN ART – 15 Preis, 1987 by Martin Kippenberger (right)

15 Preis, 1987 by Martin Kippenberger plays on the double-meaning of the German word ‘preis’, signifying both ‘price’ and ‘prize’. Through inscription of the work’s monetary or reward value directly onto the canvas, Kippenberger derides the commodification of painting, as well as the idea that merit can be awarded to an artwork by categorising it as first prize. His use of cheap fabric imagery is at odds with the price of the artwork, and also pokes fun at the history of twentieth-century abstraction and the high values attributed to the masters of this form. Referencing his German predecessor Sigmar Polke, who began painting over store purchased fabric in the 1960s, Kippenberger inscribes the Preis paintings into art historical discourse whilst simultaneously mocking this canon. Continue reading