Munch & German Expressionism Opens at David Tunick in New York

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • May 05, 2013

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Edvard Munch 1863-1944 ON THE BRIDGE, 1912-13, hand colored lithograph on laid paper.
David Tunick

In association with the prestigious Munich gallery, Galerie Thomas, New York prints and drawings dealer David Tunick will stage an important show “MUNCH & GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM” at David Tunick, Inc. at 19 East 66th Street from May 6th through May 20th.

David Tunick says, “Edvard Munch (Norwegian 1863-1944) developed his highly personal style during his formative years in Kristiana (Oslo).  By the 1890s and in the next two decades he created the iconic images that have become so widely known for his evocatively powerful interpretations of psychological themes stemming from late 19th century Symbolism.” 

Edvard Munch, 1863-1944 Mystical Shore, 1897, woodcut in two shades of gray on Japan paper.
David Tunick

Munch’s childhood had been traumatic with both his mother and a sister dying of tuberculosis. He was said to have inherited his painting talent from his mother’s family and “the seeds of madness” from his father’s.  The father was described as “morbidly pious” and had entertained his children reciting ghost stories. Munch wrote that he suffered from macabre visions and nightmares and a feeling that death was constantly advancing on him. In his diary he wrote, “In my art I attempt to explain life and its meaning to myself.”

David Tunick says Edvard Munch greatly influenced the German Expressionists.  He spent four years in Berlin in a circle of writers, artists, and critics and it is there that he came up with the idea for The Frieze of Life – A Poem about Life, Love and Death, a series with recurring motifs depicting Munch’s preoccupation with the darker aspects of love, death, and sorrow. His works often were menacing and shrouded in an atmosphere of fear and anxiety.  They did not sell well, but people were eager to view them. 

In 1892 Munch was invited to exhibit at the Union of Berlin Artists in the society’s first one-man exhibition.  The show evoked controversy and closed after a single week.  Munch proclaimed, “Never have I had such an amusing time – it’s incredible that something as innocent as painting should have created such a stir.”

Munch is best known for The Scream, the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction.  He painted two versions and created two others as pastels, one of which, dating to 1895, sold for over $119 million at auction in May, 2012. The image is one of the most recognizable artworks ever created with highly simplified forms, bold color, and the skull of an agonized figure in the throes of an emotional crisis.

As his work evolved, Munch came to favor a shallow pictorial and a minimal backdrop for figures.  His works were designed to express a state of mind and psychological conditions and impart a monumental, static quality, less realistic and more symbolic.  Munch wrote, “No longer should interiors be painted, people reading and women knitting: there should be living people, breathing and feeling, suffering and loving.”

Tunick says printmaking was critically important to Munch’s creative process.  “Munch lithographs, wood-cuts, etchings and drypoints won great critical acclaim and he made many of his most famous works in those mediums. 

“At our show in New York we will feature a muted, powerful impression of Vampire II, a combination of woodcut and lithograph started by Munch in 1895 that he remade in variants over a period of 20 years, ours probably the culminating version from 1916.

“We also are showing two variants of On the Bridge, the 1912-13 lithograph – the first, a brilliant hand-colored impression, and the second, a haunting impression in black ink on gray paper.

“Two Self Portraits by Munch will be in the show. Both are poignant full-face impressions in lithography dating to 1895-1906.  One incorporates an x-ray skeletal arm, the other without the arm.” 

Among Munch works in this exhibition will be drawings, etchings, woodcuts and drypoint examples including Adolescence, Moonlight by the Sea, and Death and the Woman.

Edvard Munch is represented in the collections of many museums and galleries in Norway and around the world.  Munch was the first western artist to have pictures exhibited in The National Gallery in Beijing after the Cultural Revolution ended in the People’s Republic of China. His likeness appears on the Norwegian 1,000 kroner note, along with pictures inspired by his artwork.

DAVID TUNICK, INC. is also showing a range of German Expressionist and related works in this show including a watercolor with chalk, pen and oil on paper from 1923 by Paul Klee, The Singer L. as Fiordiligi, presumably a portrait of Lily Lehmann  in the Mozart opera, “Cosi fan tutte”; a watercolor from 1932 by Oskar Schlemmer entitled Unterweisung (Instruction), executed the year the Breslau Academy was shut down by emergency decree, Marsh Landscape and Farmhouses, a brooding watercolor by Emil Nolde dating to 1920-25 and depicting a menacing autumn sky; and a Self Portrait color woodcut by Erich Heckel from 1919 in an early proof before the published edition.

DAVID TUNICK, INC. was founded in 1966 specializing in fine prints and drawings from the 15th to the mid-20th century. The gallery is in an elegant townhouse on the Upper East Side and has long been recognized as a leading source for the most important works on paper by such masters as Rembrandt, Dürer, Goya, Fragonard, Matisse, Picasso and many others.

As a member of the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA), Chambre Syndicale de l’Estampe (Paris), the Confédération Internationale des Négociants en Oeuvres d’Art (CINOA), the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA), and The European Fine Arts Foundation (TEFAF), DAVID TUNICK, INC. participates in a number of major exhibiting events including the ADAA Art Show, the TEFAF Maastricht Art Fair, and the IFPDA Print Fair.  Its clients include major museums and private collectors here and abroad; among them the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, the Pierpont Morgan Library, the National Gallery of Art (Washington), Yale University Art Gallery, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, the Chicago Institute of Art, the British Museum, and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

DAVID TUNICK, INC. maintains an extensive inventory and also provides cataloguing, authentication, and appraisal services, in addition to assisting its clients in buying and selling notable artworks. It has helped form several significant collections over its 45 years in business.

David Tunick, Inc. presents


In association with GALERIE THOMAS, Munich

May 6 – May 20, 2013

David Tunick, Inc.

19 East 66th Street 4th floor

New York 212 570-0090

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