Edvard Munch | Graphic Works from The Gundersen Collection

  • 7th April − 23rd September 2012 | Modern Two (Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art) | £7 (£5)

The Lonely Ones

In Munch’s work, human isolation stems from both the anxiety of modern life and the painful experience of lost love, jealousy and abandonment and the artist used the full force of graphic media to express these difficult emotions.

This is particularly evident in his use of woodcut, where he often chose blocks of wood with a pronounced grain to add depth and texture to the image. While in lithographic printmaking the ink used can create soft, sensuous effects, woodcut has a bold, immediate directness. Munch carved his own wooden blocks and developed a technique by which he would cut them to create a jigsaw-like puzzle that once reassembled would allow different colours to be printed simultaneously. He could therefore change the appearance and effect of a work by altering the colour combinations, while simultaneously maintaining the overall composition. In addition to these techniques, the relationship of figure and environment in Munch’s compositions often stresses a sense of loneliness. Even together, the couples in Two Human Beings and Towards the Forest appear alone and adrift against the infinite landscape.

Next: Munch and Scotland