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In the Air – Art+Auction's Gossip Column

Art History’s Best Mustaches: Edvard Munch’s Noir-ish “Self-Portrait With Burning Cigarette”

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Today’s top-notch art historical mustache in recognition of the month-long male cancer awareness campaign Movember comes to us from the Norwegian master of modern malaise (and current auction record-holder), Edvard Munch, who sports a ’stache in this self-portrait he made at age 31.

The large-scale oil painting, “Self-Portrait With Burning Cigarette” (1895), finds Munch staring intently at the viewer while holding a pose reminiscent of a classic hard-boiled detective, or possibly a “Masterpiece Theatre” narrator. The unusual lighting from below and the smoke swirling in front of his face accentuate the work’s mysterious aura.

In 1895 the painting was purchased from the artist by Oslo’s National Gallery, where it hangs today.

— Benjamin Sutton

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