Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863-1944)
woodcut with hand coloring, Image - h:37.70 w:45.00 cm (h:14 13/16 w:17 11/16 inches). Gift of Mrs. Clive Runnels in memory of Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. 1959.82
Munch’s Melancholy (Evening) is a quintessential Symbolist landscape. A despondent man sits by the shore at Asgardstrand, a village on the Oslo fjord where Munch had a house. On the dock in the distance, three figures are suggested: a pair of lovers who have hired a man with oars to row them to a small island where they will have a romantic tryst. The woodcut---and a painting of the
same subject---depicts the theme of melancholy resulting from jealousy. The landscape with its swirls of vibrant blues, reds, and greens are projections of the spurned lover’s thoughts. Rather than a literal transcription of the Norwegian shore, it is a landscape of the Symbolist mind, stemming from the Romantic tradition that began with Caspar David Friedrich.