Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul

Feb 19–May 8, 2006


Installation view of Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul. Photo: Thomas Griesel
  • MoMA, Floor 6

This is the first retrospective devoted to the work of the internationally renowned Norwegian painter, printmaker, and draftsman to be held in an American museum in almost three decades. Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul surveys Munch’s career in its entirety, from 1880 to 1944, showcasing his artistic achievement in its true richness and diversity. Beginning with the artist’s early portraits and genre scenes, the exhibition charts Munch’s move away from Norwegian naturalism toward an unprecedented exploration of modern existential experience. Through 87 paintings and 50 works on paper representing each phase of his career, the exhibition reveals Munch’s struggle to translate personal trauma into universal terms and, in the process, comprehend the fundamental components of human existence: birth, love, and death.

The exhibition is accompanied by a major publication that includes several essays by distinguished art historians and extensive documentation of Munch’s art and career.

The exhibition is organized by Kynaston McShine, Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art.

The exhibition is made possible by Debra and Leon Black.

Additional funding is provided by Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis and by the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund.

Major support is provided by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The accompanying publication is made possible by the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund and by Harry Irgens Larsen and the Patricia P. Irgens Larsen Charitable Foundation Inc.

Hotel accommodations courtesy of Millennium Hotels and Resorts.


  • Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul Exhibition catalogue, Hardcover, 256 pages
  • Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul Exhibition catalogue, Paperback, 256 pages
  • Edvard Munch : [brochure] the modern life of the soul : the Museum of Modern Art, February 19-May 8, 2006 Out of print, 8 pages
  • Press release 4 pages


Installation images

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