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June 10, 2022

Acquisition: Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch, "Anxiety"

Edvard Munch
Anxiety, 1896
color woodcut printed in black and red
image: 45.3 x 37.4 cm (17 13/16 x 14 3/4 in.)
sheet: 58.3 x 46.3 cm (22 15/16 x 18 1/4 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Epstein Family Collection

The National Gallery of Art’s collection of prints by Edvard Munch (1863–1944), with numerous examples assembled by Sarah and Lionel Epstein, is the largest and finest gathering of the artist’s graphic work outside his native Norway. The Epstein Family Foundation, which has donated some 119 prints by Munch since 1990, has recently given 15 more. Among the superb works in the latest donation are impressions of some of the artist’s major color woodcuts: Anxiety (1896), Moonlight I-II (1896, printed 1913), and Melancholy (Woman on the Shore) (1898). While these prints hauntingly convey the emotional states of angst and alienation for which the artist is best known, several others represent his fixation on the complex dynamics of male-female relationships. Among the highlights in this group are exceptional early black-and-white impressions of Munch’s iconic lithographs Madonna (1895/1897–1898) and Vampire II (1896); In Man’s Brain (1897), a rare color woodcut printed in vibrant red ink that depicts a nude woman in a cloud-like form above a man’s head; as well as both the color woodcut (1899) and an etched version (1902) of Encounters in Space.

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