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Edvard Munch


"The camera cannot compete with the brush and the palette so long as it cannot be used in heaven or hell," observed Edvard Munch in one of his better-known aphorisms. Although the artist himself never regarded the camera as a competitor to his brush, he nevertheless made use of it throughout his career in various ways.

Munch himself was the most important subject of his photographs. In his self-portraits he sometimes appears as a transparent shadow, an effect caused by moving from his pose to cover the lens of the camera. This feature is typical of a series of self-portraits taken by Munch in 1908-1909, which he called "photographs of fate".

The artist had thus discovered a way to merge into his surroundings. The room and everything around the subject blend into a whole in a silent, melancholy manner. The photograph is no longer a fleeting moment in time but a medium of meditation. Munch did not capture the moment in his photographs, but let time flow into them in a unique way.

He went to make a long series of self-portraits in the 1920s and '30s, observing that "when I grow old some day, and have nothing better to do than to write my autobiography, all my self-portraits will come to light".

After Edvard Munch's death a large collection of his works was donated to the City of Oslo to become the Munch Museum. The photographic self-portraits came to light in this connection and have now became a recognized part of the art of photography.

Painting on the beach, Warnemünde 1907 Edvard Munch  la Marat at Dr. Jacobson's clinic in Copenhagen, 1908-09 Rosa Meissner at the Hotel Rohne in Warnemünde, Germany, 1907 View in profile with hat, Ekely 1930 Unidentified room on the Continent, ca. 1906

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