Edvard Munch

British Museum to stage major show of Munch prints

Exhibition in London will be largest in 50 years

Edvard Munch, The Scream (1895). Lithograph, private collection, Oslo. Photo: Thomas Widerberg

The UK’s largest exhibition of Munch prints for nearly 50 years will open in April at the British Museum. Most of the works will be coming from the Munch Museum in Oslo. In return, the British Museum has promised to send a show in 2022 on the highlights of Western printmaking.

The London Munch exhibition will include a rare lithograph of The Scream (1895) from an Oslo private collection. Fewer than 20 impressions survive and one sold at Sotheby’s in 2017 for £1.4m.

Entitled Edvard Munch: Love and Angst, the British Museum show organised by Giulia Bartrum will comprise more than 80 works, with around 50 from the Oslo museum, six Munch prints from the British Museum and the remainder from other collections. Unusually, the Munch Museum is lending a lithographic plate, a copper plate and a woodblock, which will be displayed alongside the relevant prints.

There is only one Munch oil painting in a UK public collection, The Sick Child (1907) at the Tate, which will be shown at the British Museum. Until the Nazi era it was owned by the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden, but it was sold off in 1938 as “degenerate” art and donated to Tate the following year by Thomas Olsen, a major Munch collector. Olsen gave it to the Tate in gratitude to Britain for giving him refuge after he fled from Nazi rule.

The British Museum show is being sponsored by the AKO Foundation, set up by the Norwegian Nicolai Tangen, who established AKO Capital. He owns the most comprehensive collection of mid-20th century Norwegian art, with 1,500 works. Tangen is establishing a major museum of Nordic art in his home town of Kristiansand. Set in a converted grain silo, the Kunstsilo is due to open in 2022.

• Edvard Munch: Love and Angst, British Museum, London, 11 April-21 July