For most people who know the name Edvard Munch, there’s an immediate association with his iconic painting, "The Scream.” This artist, fabled for his emotionally impactful painting, is not known for his photographs, but his lens-based work will soon be available for fans of art and photography.
On September 14, Missouri Southern State University will stage an exhibition of photographic portraits by Munch, marking only the second time that his photography work has been exhibited in the United States.
Edvard Munch experimented with photography in the late 19th century, capturing fascinating self-portraits as well as images of people and places around him. Because his painting is much more widely recognized than his photography, this exhibition will surely come as a surprise to most art lovers.
A peek into a gallery of his photography hosted online reveals his somewhat autobiographical, experimental approach to photography during its early period. His work seems largely candid, as the subjects (mostly his housekeeper) seem either surprised by or unaware of the photograph Munch is taking. Several subjects are exposure “ghosted,” one image apparently captured in a double exposure.
The many photographs taken by Munch of himself raise an intriguing question: could these be history's earliest selfies?
For a schedule of events, please visit Missouri Southern State University.
What do you think of Munch's photographic work? Do you see it as the raw experimentation of a novice or the subtle, brilliant work of a great, intuitive artist? Please leave a comment below.
Lead image composited via Wikimedia Commons and Alex Andrews via Pexels.