Artwork Historical past Information: EDVARD MUNCH: TREMBLING EARTH



JUNE 10-October 15 

Museum Barberini, Potsdam, Germany

November 18, 2023–April 1, 2024

Munch Museum (MUNCH), Oslo, Norway

 April 27–August 24, 2024

The Clark Artwork Institute presents the primary exhibition in america to contemplate how the famous Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (1863–1944) employed nature to convey that means in his artwork. Munch is regarded primarily as a determine painter, and his most celebrated photographs (together with his iconic The Scream) are related to themes of affection, nervousness, longing, and demise. But, panorama performs an important position in a big portion of Munch’s work. Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth considers this essential, however much less explored side of the artist’s profession. The Clark is the only real U.S. venue for the exhibition which opens on June 10 and is on view by means of October 15, 2023. Organized in collaboration with the Museum Barberini, Potsdam, Germany and the Munch Museum (MUNCH), Oslo, Norway, the exhibition is introduced in Potsdam from November 18, 2023–April 1, 2024, and in Oslo from April 27–August 24, 2024.

“This fascinating exhibition supplies a recent alternative to discover the vary and depth of Edvard Munch’s artwork,” mentioned Olivier Meslay, Hardymon Director of the Clark. “Though many individuals make quick associations and assumptions concerning Munch’s work, this exhibition presents a significantly totally different take a look at the artist that encourages us to develop our understanding and deepen our appreciation of his distinctive abilities. For the Clark, the chance to discover Munch’s perceptions of nature in opposition to the backdrop of our personal stunning pure setting is especially compelling.”

The exhibition is organized thematically to point out how Munch used nature to convey human feelings and relationships, have fun farming observe and backyard cultivation, and discover the mysteries of the forest whilst his Norwegian homeland confronted industrialization. 

Trembling Earth options seventy-five objects, starting from brilliantly hued landscapes and three beautiful self-portraits, to an intensive choice of his modern prints and drawings, together with a lithograph of The Scream. The exhibition contains greater than thirty works from MUNCH’s world-renowned assortment, main items from different museums within the USA and Europe, and almost forty work, prints, and drawings from non-public collections, a lot of that are not often exhibited.

“This exhibition attracts on new analysis to supply a recent perspective on Munch’s profession,” mentioned Jay A. Clarke, Rothman Household Curator of Prints and Drawings on the Artwork Institute of Chicago. “Alongside depictions of demise, existential torment, and troubled relationships, Munch additionally created imagery reflecting his data of science, exhibiting his embrace of pantheism, and a deep reverence for nature.” Clarke led the curatorial venture for the Clark and commenced early work on the exhibition when she served as its Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Pictures from 2009–2018.


This exhibition introduces Munch’s lesser-known panorama work and considers his iconic figural photographs from a brand new perspective, by specializing in how his rendering of nature animated his chosen narratives.  In work of the Oslo Fjord shoreline and the Baltic coast of Germany, Munch explored adjustments caused by elevated tourism, partially the results of well being reform initiatives extolling the virtues of outside exercise. Munch developed his personal pantheistic worldview that related human biology, vegetation, and the photo voltaic system. Munch’s fascination with humankind’s interplay with the earth and the influence of 1 on the opposite may be seen in a choice of landscape-rich prints, drawings, and work from the Eighteen Nineties to the Nineteen Forties.

“It’s with nice satisfaction that the MUNCH Museum participates on this substantial exhibition of Edvard Munch’s artwork, the place the general public can acquire perception into his robust relationship to nature. Additionally it is an amazing pleasure to take part in a community of expert professionals from the U.S., Germany, and Norway, collaborating to convey ahead new data about considered one of Norway’s biggest artists. I’m positive that the exhibition and the insightful catalogue that accompanies all three venues might be properly obtained by the general public,” mentioned Tone Hansen, director of MUNCH. “MUNCH is a museum for contemporary and up to date artwork, and manages and preserves the legacy of Edvard Munch for a world public. An exhibition sequence like this one demonstrates the significance of Munch’s work, the worth of collaboration, and the significance of latest analysis and perception.”

Ortrud Westheider, director of the Museum Barberini mentioned: “Munch’s works are nonetheless unsurpassed of their emotional expressiveness and overwhelming modernity, and for good motive: for many individuals, his artwork is a logo of their very own emotions. With the primary exhibition devoted completely to Munch’s panorama depictions, we’re opening up a aspect of his oeuvre that has hitherto been little represented, and the dramatic climate situations in his work tackle a particular urgency, particularly in opposition to the backdrop of the looming local weather disaster.”


Munch’s depictions of forests embody emotional encounters between {couples}, youngsters approaching dense woods, and scenes of Norway’s logging trade. In prints of the Eighteen Nineties and 1910s, equivalent to 

Ashes I (1896) 



and In direction of the Forest (1897 and 1915), 

a dense thicket of wooden usually served as a backdrop for scenes of impending liaisons or extinguished love. In his diaries and different writings, the artist urged the woods as a spot the place love might both collapse or immediate intimacy. 

The Fairytale Forest (1927–29), considered one of various works on this theme painted from 1901 by means of the late Nineteen Twenties, reveals young children strolling in direction of an imposing forest. The claustrophobic depiction of kids surrounded by towering darkish spruces is heightened by the acid-green colours, the variations in scale, and the anthropomorphic form of the timber, whose branches resemble a gaping mouth. 

Edvard Munch, The Yellow Log, 1912, oil on canvas. Munchmuseet, MM.M.00393, © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph: Munchmuseet 

The Yellow Log (1912) 

and The Logger (1913) draw consideration to each the expansion of timber and destruction of Norway’s forests. The Yellow Log depicts a bunch of felled timber in a dense forest, the brightly-hued massive central tree dramatically disappearing into the vanishing level of the canvas. The encircling trunks are shaded purple with darkish, cellular-shaped circles demarcating their bark and emphasizing the life drive inside them. 


Munch’s work of cultivated landscapes might be seen as reactions in opposition to the extreme urbanization and modernization that occurred throughout his lifetime. Particularly, farming topics show Munch’s quest for options to the alienating situations of metropolis life. Throughout a time when Norwegian agriculture was present process modernization and mechanization, Munch most popular to depict conventional small-scale farming practices, celebrating the farmer’s “easy” lifestyle, as in 

The Haymaker (1917).  

reveals a female and male laborer posed on both facet of a tree, suggesting a concord between the sexes.  

The artist drew inspiration from the fertile coastal space across the Oslo Fjord, the place he rented or owned properties in areas equivalent to Åsgårdstrand, Kragerø, and Hvitsten. Reflecting a horticultural growth in Norway, Munch created flower and kitchen gardens, planted fruit timber and stored animals equivalent to hens, geese, and horses at his varied properties. The artist’s remaining property at Ekely, on the outskirts of Oslo, included a productive backyard the place he planted greens throughout World Struggle I to provide his household and buddies with recent produce. He later let the gardens run wild, with timber dripping with fruit, as featured in 

Apple Tree within the Backyard (1932–42). 

In Lady with Pumpkin (1942) Munch pairs the lady with the plush abundance of the backyard.

The artist regarded his gardens and fields as locations of refuge overflowing with life. They will also be understood as liminal zones between nature and civilization. In a pocket book, Munch described the feminine figures who populate his work of gardens as “brightly dressed ladies from the metropolis.” The formally dressed lady who seems in 

Lady Beneath Apple Tree (1904) appears misplaced within the verdant setting, and maybe indicators the up to date growth of tourism within the resorts across the Oslo Fjord. 


Munch’s fascination with metamorphosis, collectively together with his religion in nature’s cyclical renewal, led him to depict every season with reverence. Local weather nervousness in the beginning of the 20 th century concerned very totally different considerations to people who preoccupy us in the present day. The prevalent worry was not that temperatures would rise, however that the earth can be engulfed by a brand new Ice Age. As an avid newspaper reader, Munch would have been conscious of this development, though his depictions of snow and ice will not be overtly pessimistic. His work of snowy landscapes have fun the thriller and surprise of Norway’s lengthy, darkish winters. The massive-scale night vistas, painted in hues of white and blue, function starry night time skies and durable pine timber impervious to the bitter chilly. The snowcapped forests, townscapes, and moonlit winter skies in work equivalent to 

White Night time (1900–01)

 and Starry Night time (1922-24) convey a way of quiet awe. 

Starry Night time depicts a powerful frozen panorama beneath the starlit cover of an evening sky. The attitude is from the artist’s veranda at his house in Ekely, the place he appeared out over the winter panorama of his fields and backyard, considering the sky that arches over the distant lights of the town. 

Munch additionally depicted excessive climate occasions throughout the hotter months, as in 

The Storm 

and Stormy Panorama (1902–03), permitting him to discover tumultuous situations like waving timber and swirling clouds. For all his consciousness of humankind’s imprint on nature and interconnectedness with the universe, Munch’s work of snow, storm, and ice current nature as a drive that’s finally past human management. 


The shoreline was an essential motif for Munch, as he lived on or close to the Oslo Fjord coast a lot of his grownup life. Munch depicted its curving shoreline in his work, drawings, and prints from the Eighteen Nineties by means of the Thirties. It grew to become a recurring theme, one he recognized with the “perpetually shifting traces of life.” In some depictions, the shoreline itself was the topic, as in 

Summer time Night time by the Seaside
 (1902–03), and in others it was a backdrop amplifying human emotion, as in 

Two Human Beings, the Lonely Ones (1899). The shoreline featured most prominently in Munch’s works depicting themes of melancholy, human isolation, and bodily separation. 

One narrative theme that employed the shoreline was that of a person and lady parting from each other. 

Separation II (1896) focuses carefully on a pair, exhibiting solely their heads, shoulders, and the shoreline winding between and behind them. The girl faces the water and strands of her hair, echoing each the waves and curving shore, circulate in direction of the person, her tresses touching his head and shoulder, and settling close to his coronary heart. The person, eyes closed and head turning away from the water, appears defeated but inextricably related to the girl.

One other frequent topic the artist set on the shoreline was a dejected man or lady dealing with the water. Whereas the determine was most frequently male, Munch’s Melancholy II (1898) woodcut depicts a lady. The girl throws her head into her arms with hair cascading downwards. Her pink costume, with the anthropomorphic form of an open mouth, echoes the curving shoreline, its borders emphasised by the black background. By setting depictions of separation, attraction, and loneliness in opposition to the winding and jagged coast of the fjord, Munch infused his photos with vitality and emotion. 


Munch’s creative observe was affected by his overlapping pursuits in philosophy, faith, and the pure sciences. Though raised in a staunchly Christian family, in maturity Munch’s non secular views had been formed by scientific theories of Darwinian evolution and Monism, a philosophical perception that every one existence is unified: animal, vegetal, and terrestrial. The place of people as a part of a cosmic cycle is a recurrent theme in his artwork, one usually related to the picture that has change into synonymous with trendy nervousness, 

The Scream

A lithograph of the artist’s most celebrated work—considered one of about solely thirty made—is on view within the exhibition. 

The Scream has usually been interpreted as an outward expression of an inside psychological state. Seen alongside 

The Solar (1912), nevertheless, its connection to the common drive of nature turns into extra evidentIn The Scream, a determine confronts the viewer with staring eyes and mouth agape. Much more importantly, the determine is depicted as a part of the churning, trembling panorama behind. The rhythm of the lone determine’s swaying physique continues into the pulsating panorama. Nature is alive, like a human being, and so they mutually influence one another. The German inscription included on the lithograph interprets to “I felt the good scream by means of nature.” 

Munch’s long-standing fascination with the existential that means of nature culminates within the motif of the solar. Painted with magnificent power, the beams of sunshine of The Solar (1912) are rendered in robust hues of orange, yellow, white, and inexperienced, piercing the earth beneath, infusing the rocks, water, and soil with power.  In associated works, the artist linked humankind to nature and the cosmos with photographs of individuals stretching upwards in direction of the solar, a logo of life and enlightenment. 

A number of works depict the cycles of nature straight, for instance within the type of rotting our bodies that present nourishment to sprouting crops. In his 1896 drawing 

Metabolism (Life and Dying), crops with anthropomorphic options develop out of the corpse of a lady. Within the background, a pregnant lady is surrounded by crops and timber. The solar’s rays shine upon her physique, nourishing the newborn rising inside her in addition to the encircling crops. They counsel that the boundaries between humanity and nature are blurred—we don’t stand outdoors the cycle of nature, we’re a part of it. There are not any clear distinctions between inner and exterior, materials and non-material, dwelling and lifeless.


All through his life, particular geographic websites impacted Munch and his creative manufacturing. These locations the place Munch lived and labored for durations of time grew to become protagonists in his work, prints, and drawings, distinct with their very own visible traits and impressed narratives.

In his work of Åsgårdstrand, the Norwegian village the place Munch spent a lot of his summers, the artist depicted the rocky, curving shoreline when trying away from the village, as in 

Seaside (1904).  He additionally appeared inland, shifting his focus to younger women and girls standing in town’s pier in entrance of the Kiøsterud Manor, one of many grandest buildings within the city. Considered one of Munch’s most iconic and repeated motifs is 

Ladies on the Bridge

From 1902 to 1935, the artist created twelve work and 4 print compositions that includes teams of women or ladies standing on the pier throughout the summer season, surrounded by the water during which an enormous linden tree is mirrored.

Munch spent an intense interval from 1907 to 1908 in Warnemünde, on the northern coast of Germany, the place he sought water cures and relaxation for his frayed nerves simply previous to being hospitalized for alcoholism and a nervous breakdown. Right here, he created 

Bathing Males (1907–8), which grew to become the central panel in a sequence of 5 often called 

The Ages of Man. Bathing Males depicts a bunch of nude, muscular middle-aged males strolling towards the viewer, taking part in within the waves, and strolling alongside the shore. The scene is considered one of healthful vitality. 

In 1910, Munch purchased property on the Oslo Fjord in Hvitsten, the place he created bathing scenes and constructed outside studios for his monumental works. As Munch embraced the therapeutic results of solar and the outside, his coloration palette brightened, as in works like Bathing Man (1918). On this interval, his contemporaries started to understand the artist as happier: at peace with himself and at one with nature. 


The exhibition additionally marks the publication of Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth, a 248-page catalogue with contributions by Ali Smith, Jay A. Clarke, Jill Lloyd, Trine Otte Bak Nielsen, and Arne Johan Vetlesen. 

The e book is revealed by MUNCH, Oslo, Norway and distributed by Yale College Press, New Haven. 

A thought-provoking quantity on Munch’s usually uncared for depictions of nature, this richly illustrated catalogue supplies a multifaceted perspective on Munch’s photographs of the pure world, exploring the Norwegian artist’s landscapes, seascapes, and existential environments in gentle of his personal time and ours.