The creator of art's most haunting and iconic face. A radical father of Expressionism. Norway's answer to Vincent van Gogh. But who was Edvard Munch? A pioneering, subversive artist, the British Museum lifted the veil on his life and works in the largest show of his prints in the UK for 45 years.
The emotional intensity of The Scream has reverberated through history, speaking to generations. The fact that it needs no explanation is arguably one of its strengths. Yet perhaps it is also the reason that, beyond his name, so little is known about its creator – The Scream speaks for itself. Although it has become a universal symbol of human anxiety, it's a deeply personal response to Munch's upbringing and experiences as a young artist.
Looking at the cities of pre-war Oslo, Berlin and Paris, the exhibition showed how new ideas about personal and political independence gave rise to an important voice. Visceral, rebellious and hungry for new experiences, Munch rejected his strict Lutheran upbringing to pursue an unconventional lifestyle. He travelled across Europe, drawing artistic inspiration from the bohemian circles he encountered and his passionate love affairs. Munch's work articulated his experiences of life in a rapidly changing Europe, that was to be shattered by the first global industrialised conflict.
In this collaborative exhibition with the Munch Museum in Oslo, we discovered how he mastered the art of printmaking and explored his remarkable body of work. Munch's innovative techniques, bold use of colour and dark subject matter resonated with shifting attitudes – and marked him out as one of the first truly 'modern' artists.
AKO Foundation was set up in 2013 by Nicolai Tangen, CEO and Founder of AKO Capital, a native Norwegian who lives in the UK. Funded with a total of more than £150 million, AKO Foundation has already realised a range of exciting projects with a selection of partners. Previously, the Foundation has partnered with the Courtauld Institute where it established an academic post for the study of European art of the 20th century, contributed to the redevelopment of the Courtauld buildings, established the AKO Curator Prize and supported the Egon Schiele exhibition. AKO Foundation is also instrumental in establishing the new Kunstsilo museum in Kristiansand, Norway which will become a leading player in modernist Nordic art.