Learn more about Edvard Munch's Mermaid:
|Edvard Munch (1863-1944) has attained lasting fame for paintings and prints--above all The Scream--that express the isolation and anxieties of the modern condition, Recently, the Philadelphia Museum of Art acquired a large Munch painting, Mermaid, little known outside a small circle of experts because it had never been displayed in museums or galleries. To introduce this important work to the public, the Museum has organized an exhibition that presents Mermaid alongside related paintings, drawings, and prints. Edvard Munch's Mermaid, which accompanies the exhibition, provides the first comprehensive discussion of the painting's history and significance. The Norwegian industrialist and collector Axel Heiberg commissioned Mermaid from Munch in 1896, when the artist was living in Paris, absorbing the city's intellectual life, expanding his work as a printmaker, and extending his activities to new realms, such as designing the theater sets and program for Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt. The first two essays in this book from the Philadelphia Museum of Art situate Mermaid, Munch's first decorative painting, within the rich ferment of this period in his life. The painting's Norwegian imagery, Symbolist ethos, and Art Nouveau influences are explored even as its relationship to Munch's printmaking of 1896-97 and other artistic activities is elucidated. Mermaid was removed from Heiberg's house in 1938 and was converted by a restorer from a trapezoidal format to a standard rectangle. The final essays discusses the changes to the painting in light of Munch's highly personal and complex views on the alteration of his works. Edvard Munch's Mermaid reproduces all the prints, drawings, and paintings inthe exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, September 24-December 31, 2005.|
From the Publisher:
Edvard Munch painted Mermaid, his first decorative work, in Paris in the summer of 1896, a time of great intellectual and artistic exploration for the artist. He started to make woodcuts and color prints, designed theater sets and programs, and, upon receiving a commission from the Norwegian industrialist and collector Axel Heiberg, turned his attention to decorative painting. Munch fashioned Mermaid to fit within a trapezoidal space under the rafters of a large hall in Heiberg's house in Lysaker, Norway; it was altered to its present rectangular format in 1938 when Heiberg's heirs had it moved. In painting Mermaid, Munch drew on his experiences in Paris, creating a figure with all the psychological complexity of his earlier art but endowed as well with new pictorial qualities. The three essays presented here discuss Mermaid in the contexts of Norwegian imagery, Symbolism, and Art Nouveau; the artist's inventive prints of 1896-97; and his complex, highly personal views on the alteration of his work.|This publication accompanies the first public exhibition of Mermaid, which the Philadelphia Museum of Art acquired in 2003. It reproduces all the paintings, drawings, and prints that appear in the exhibition and illuminate Munch's little-known masterpiece.