Edvard Munch, Woman in a Red Dress, 1903, oil on canvas, 60 x 76 cm, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.
Edvard Munch, 1863-1944, was a prolific Norwegian artist preoccupied with matters of human psychology, mortality, chronic illness, sexual liberation and religious aspiration. He expressed these obsessions through works of intense color, semi-abstraction, with vivid brushstrokes and mysterious subject matter. Following the great triumph of Impressionism, Munch took up the more graphic, symbolist sensibility of the influential Paul Gauguin, and in turn became one of the most controversial and eventually renowned artists among a new generation of continental Expressionist and Symbolist painters. Munch intended for his intense colors, semi-abstraction and mysterious, often open-ended themes to function as symbols of universal significance. Thus his drawings, paintings, and prints take on the quality of psychological talismans: having originated in Munch's personal experiences, they nonetheless bear the power to express, and perhaps alleviate, any viewer's own emotional or psychological condition. This painting, Woman in Red Dress, is also called Street in Åsgårdstrand. Åsgårdstrand is a resort a few miles to the south of Oslo. Munch took a holiday residence there in the summer of 1889, which he rented for some years until he purchased a house in 1897. He produced many paintings here.
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