A major collection of works by Edvard Munch will be shown in the UK for the first time at The Courtauld Gallery. The Morgan Stanley Exhibition: Edvard Munch. Masterpieces from Bergen will run from 27 May – 5 September 2022, and is part of a partnership between The Courtauld and KODE art museums in Bergen, Norway. KODE in Bergen is home to one of the most important Munch collections in the world, originally assembled in the early 20th century by Norwegian industrialist Rasmus Meyer (1858 – 1916), who collected Munch’s work during the artist’s lifetime.
The exhibition will bring together some 18 paintings from this collection – the first time a comprehensive group of works from the collection has been seen outside Norway. It will begin with seminal early examples of Munch’s ‘realist’ period of the 1880s which launched his career, such as Morning (1884) and Summer Night (1889), a pivotal work that reflects the artist’s move towards the expressive and psychologically charged work for which he became famous. These works set the stage for the highly expressive paintings of the 1890s, including remarkable canvases from Munch’s famous Frieze of Life series which tackled profound themes of human existence through visceral depictions of the human psyche, such as Evening on Karl Johan (1892), Melancholy (1894-96) and At the Death Bed (1895).The Courtauld’s permanent collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist masterpieces, on display in the newly refurbished LVMH Great Room, will provide rich context for the exhibition, revealing some of the artistic inspirations Munch encountered during his experimental years in Paris from 1889 – 1892, where he discovered the modern styles of Gauguin, Toulouse Lautrec and Van Gogh.