Norwegian Landscape


Important work


Munch, Edvard b.1863 Norway d.1944 Norway


Drypoint Etching, not signed, not dated


Fine wove 18 x 22 cm



Realisation / Publication:

First published in Berlin in 1919 by Paul Cassirer

Reference / Literature:

See Woll, The Complete Graphic Works, Willoch, # 139, and Schieffer # 268


Sylvan Cole Gallery, Madrid, 2016



This is the first work Munch was thought to have completed after he recovered from a “nervous breakdown” in 1908. First conceived as an edition of 30, these were signed by Munch and have achieved high prices in Auction Houses throughout the world. It was published much later and was also republished two more times. Having been shelved for 11 years, this impression is one that may have been published as an artist’s proof or hors commerce and dates from 1919, when the plate was first published. In deconstructing the etching, a trait that characterises Munch’s oeuvre is present in this small but powerful representation of the Scandinavian landscape. The oblique angle, represented by a road, bridge or path that cuts across the pictorial plane and leads the eye to a vanishing point, is present in this work in what appears to be a canal or sluice. These trenches were used for irrigation, and proliferate the farmland of Europe even today. This notion of psychological distress is given further symbolic agency in the division of the landscape. On the left, the barren field lay dormant suggesting winter, while on the right, the farmhouse is distant, yet longs for human occupation. Yet, in the absence of the human form, loneliness, a powerful metaphor that underscored much of Munch’s work is starkly represented in the elongated and bent branches of the tree that is foregrounded, the limbs reaching out in an errie and needing of an emotional connection. Sadly, there is no such connection made in the image, and much like Munch had experienced in his lifetime, such emotionally disturbing panoramas would go to be reflected in his art.