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Edvard Munch (1863–1944) was an interesting man who painted interesting subjects and the Edvard Munch paintings exhibit at SFMoMA is, not only a study of fleeting time, but of the painter himself and his work.

It might seem ironic that the SFMoMA (The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) has so many Contemporary art special exhibitions. But they do still have some great special exhibits featuring works before 1945. And as Culture Hog is an arts and culture magazine dedicated mostly to Contemporary art, it still seems dutiful to mention the striking Edvard Munch paintings currently on special exhibit at one of the biggest SF museums. Seeing so much Edvard Munch art together in such a strong curated show makes for an incredibly moving experience.

Munch Self Portraits at SFMoMA

The Edvard Munch paintings exhibition at the SFMoMA is called Between the Clock and the Bed as the first room is full of curious self-portraits by Munch. Opposite the entrance to the first gallery is his last self-portrait, Between the Clock and the Bed (1943), which not only inspired the first gallery of self-portraits, but supposedly the entire exhibit. (The painting shows Munch facing impending death as a grandfather clock ticks onward next to him.) One can see in this gallery at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art the various nuances in his work as well as varying styles in just one painting. Some of the Edvard Munch art shows haggard faces, slightly deranged. One painting, The Night Wanderer (1924), shows a stirred Munch peaking his body into the frame apparently looking for an intruder or perhaps just up for a late night bourbon. Other works of art show a youthful, proud, healthy Munch. This difference in mood changes from frame to frame. There are changes on the canvas though too. Within the paintings some of the colors seem local while others seem completely alien but somehow beautifully accurate. This first gallery is a beautiful introduction to the show. These many styles just within the realm of portraiture at the Modern SF museums shows just how varied Munch’s artwork can be.

Edvard Munch Paintings

Edvard Munch. The Night Wanderer, 1924.

The Many Edvard Munch Paintings

Pleasantly, The Scream (1893) by Edvard Munch is not part of the Edvard Munch paintings show at SFMoMA. This of course gives visitors to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art a chance to visit one of the SF museums and to soak in the many other styles of paint that Edvard Munch was so articulate with. The show at the San Francisco Museum of Art has Edvard Munch art including his self portraits and time, of course, paintings about death and illness, sin, even psychedelics, love, and more. Each gallery is a grouping of these Edvard Munch paintings that strengthen the effect of each other. The show at the SFMoMA is a beautiful conglomeration of a very talented and very diverse painter.

The Edvard munch paintings are on display at the SFMoMa until October 9th.


Written by

Topher is the founder and editor of Culture Hog Magazine. He studies art history and works at the Oakland Museum of California. Topher values strong community and worldwide healing and progress via the arts.


1 Comment

  • Danann says:

    Comparing his art where people are his focus with his landscapes is interesting. The pieces with human subjects are for the most part rather dark and bleak. While his landscapes seem more bright and vibrant and peaceful. Landscapes are what they are; simple, pure, honest. Humans are more complicated. It gives insight on what he thought of people, himself included.

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