Munch's Ibsen

Munch's Ibsen

A Painter's Visions of A Playwright

Book - 2008
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Baker & Taylor
Explores the influence Henrik Ibsen held on the philosophies and works of Edvard Munch, analyzing both playwright and artist's careers in relation to Norway's cultural history and establishing them as modernist pioneers.

Univ of Washington Pr

Drawing on printed and archival sources, including Munch's extensive unpublished writings, Munch's Ibsen provides a comprehensive account of the connection between the two great Norwegian modernists. Situating the interlocking careers of Edvard Munch and Henrik Ibsen within Norway's cultural history, Joan Templeton establishes Ibsen's primordial importance for Munch as a pioneering modernist voice. She examines the over 400 illustrations Munch made of Ibsen's plays, one of the greatest homages a painter ever made to a writer, showing how Ibsen's imaginative universe was an essential and integral part of Munch's life and work as a whole.

Templeton studies the illustrations as readings of Ibsen's plays and as examples of some of Munch's best work in various media: the witty, tender drawings of Peer Gynt; the eloquent oil sketches of Ghosts; the powerful woodcuts of The Pretenders; the sumptuous oil paintings of John Gabriel Borkman. She shows how some of the strongest of the illustrations result from Munch's accommodation of his own symbolic structures to Ibsen's text. She also demonstrates how Munch sometimes refigured Ibsen's texts to fit his own experiences and convictions in a process of reification that is as interesting as his fidelity. She offers a detailed analysis of Munch's famous portraits of Ibsen and a historical and analytical account of Munch's work on the Ibsen stage productions through which he painted himself into theatrical history.

Munch's Ibsen will appeal to students of modern literature and art, art history, the history of the modern theatre, Scandinavian art and culture, and interdisciplinary approaches to the humanities.

Book News
In an accessible but thorough analysis, Templeton (English, comparative literature, Long Island U., NY) demonstrates the great influence wielded by the playwright Ibsen on his younger contemporary. Based on an exhaustive examination of Munch's personal writings, Templeton builds a case for Ibsen's prevalent influence on Munch. The volume is heavily illustrated with b&w and color plates, including many rarely seen Munch drawings. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Publisher: Seattle : University of Washington Press ; Copenhagen : Museum Tusculanum Press, University of Copenhagen, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9780295987767
Branch Call Number: 760.092 MUNCH TEMPL
Characteristics: xxvii, 185 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 27 cm
Notes: Errata slip inserted
"A Samuel and Althea Stroum book."


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