Munch, Edvard (Norwegian, 1863-1944)

Cartoon of the electrification process at the Jacobsen Clinic


Reference Type:
Artwork
Year:
1908
Notes/Description:
In 1908, after years of intense alcoholism and a number of traumatic events, Munch entered the clinic of Dr. Daniel Jacobson. Rather than offer a diagnosis of a common untreatable psychotic illness that might have resulted in Munch’s being locked up for life—for example tertiary syphilis or schizophrenia—Jacobsen diagnosed accurately Munch’s alcoholic psychosis and during the artist’s lengthy stay treated him with rest, good food, baths, and “electrification.” The caption here reads, “Professor Jacobsen passing electricity through the famous painter Edvard Munch, changing his crazy brain with the positive power of masculinity and the negative power of femininity.” Munch apparently liked the electrification, writing to his aunt “I have been rather short of electricity.” Notes by Dr. Linda Pessar and Mariann Smith Quotes from Prideaux, Sue. Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005, p. 250.
Keywords:
Art
History of Medicine
Physicians
Psychiatry
Collection:
Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway