Edvard Munch, Women on the Beach, 1908/09

2016 019 001 V0001Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863–1944), Women on the Beach, 1908/09, woodcut on wove paper, 8.5 x 12.94 inches (image); 13.81 x 19.75 inches (sheet). Acquired with funds provided by the Estate of Edith and Dr. Paul J. Vignos Jr. ’41, 2016.019.001

Women on the Beach was made at mid-career when he was suffering from a bout of depression. Despite the proximity of the two women in the scene, they seem isolated from one another and deeply introspective. The act of crudely gouging out the wood block to create the image is analogous to his heavy-handed painting style and may be a reflection of the artist’s troubled state of mind. After his recovery in 1909, his work became more upbeat and less morose.Munch is probably best known for his symbolist paintings of fin-de-siècle angst and psychological turmoil, such as The Scream of 1893, but his graphic production was equally impactful. He produced 748 prints, most of which were etchings and lithographs. Although fewer in number than works in other media, his woodcuts were especially influential on the German expressionists.

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