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 think about 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 pictures (together with his iconic The Scream) are related to themes of affection, nervousness, longing, and loss of life. But, panorama performs a vital position in a big portion of Munch’s work. Edvard Munch: Trembling Earth considers this vital, however much less explored facet of the artist’s profession. The Clark is the only 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 offers a contemporary alternative to discover the vary and depth of Edvard Munch’s artwork,” stated Olivier Meslay, Hardymon Director of the Clark. “Though many individuals make speedy associations and assumptions relating to Munch’s work, this exhibition affords a significantly completely different have a look at the artist that encourages us to broaden our understanding and deepen our appreciation of his distinctive skills. For the Clark, the chance to discover Munch’s perceptions of nature towards the backdrop of our personal lovely pure setting is especially compelling.”

The exhibition is organized thematically to indicate how Munch used nature to convey human feelings and relationships, rejoice farming observe and backyard cultivation, and discover the mysteries of the forest at the same time as his Norwegian homeland confronted industrialization. 

Trembling Earth options seventy-five objects, starting from brilliantly hued landscapes and three beautiful self-portraits, to an intensive collection of his modern prints and drawings, together with a lithograph of The Scream. The exhibition consists of 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 contemporary perspective on Munch’s profession,” stated Jay A. Clarke, Rothman Household Curator of Prints and Drawings on the Artwork Institute of Chicago. “Alongside depictions of loss of life, existential torment, and troubled relationships, Munch additionally created imagery reflecting his information of science, displaying his embrace of pantheism, and a deep reverence for nature.” Clarke led the curatorial venture for the Clark and started 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 pictures 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, flowers, 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 collection of landscape-rich prints, drawings, and work from the Nineties to the Nineteen Forties.

“It’s with nice delight 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 awesome pleasure to take part in a community of expert professionals from the U.S., Germany, and Norway, collaborating to deliver ahead new information about one among Norway’s best artists. I’m positive that the exhibition and the insightful catalogue that accompanies all three venues shall be nicely acquired by the general public,” stated 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 collection like this one demonstrates the significance of Munch’s work, the worth of collaboration, and the significance of recent analysis and perception.”

Ortrud Westheider, director of the Museum Barberini stated: “Munch’s works are nonetheless unsurpassed of their emotional expressiveness and overwhelming modernity, and for good purpose: for many individuals, his artwork is an emblem 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 towards 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 Nineties and 1910s, resembling 

Ashes I (1896) 



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

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

The Fairytale Forest (1927–29), one among numerous works on this theme painted from 1901 by means of the late Twenties, reveals young children strolling in the direction of an imposing forest. The claustrophobic depiction of youngsters 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 gaggle of felled timber in a dense forest, the brightly-hued massive central tree dramatically disappearing into the vanishing level of the canvas. The encompassing 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 towards the extraordinary urbanization and modernization that occurred throughout his lifetime. Particularly, farming topics exhibit Munch’s quest for alternate 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 resembling Åsgårdstrand, Kragerø, and Hvitsten. Reflecting a horticultural growth in Norway, Munch created flower and kitchen gardens, planted fruit timber and saved animals resembling 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 Battle I to produce his household and mates with contemporary produce. He later let the gardens run wild, with timber dripping with fruit, as featured in 

Apple Tree within the Backyard (1932–42). 

In Girl 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 may 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 girls from the metropolis.” The formally dressed lady who seems in 

Lady Beneath Apple Tree (1904) appears misplaced within the verdant setting, and maybe alerts 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 at first of the 20 th century concerned very completely different considerations to those who preoccupy us at the moment. The prevalent concern was not that temperatures would rise, however that the earth could 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 are usually not overtly pessimistic. His work of snowy landscapes rejoice the thriller and surprise of Norway’s lengthy, darkish winters. The big-scale night vistas, painted in hues of white and blue, function starry evening skies and durable pine timber impervious to the bitter chilly. The snowcapped forests, townscapes, and moonlit winter skies in work resembling 

White Evening (1900–01)

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

Starry Evening depicts a powerful frozen panorama beneath the starlit cover of an evening sky. The attitude is from the artist’s veranda at his residence in Ekely, the place he seemed 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 through 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 in the end past human management. 


The shoreline was an vital 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 Nineties by means of the Thirties. It turned a recurring theme, one he recognized with the “perpetually shifting strains of life.” In some depictions, the shoreline itself was the topic, as in 

Summer season Evening 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, displaying 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, circulation in the 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 going through the water. Whereas the determine was most frequently male, Munch’s Melancholy II (1898) woodcut depicts a girl. The girl throws her head into her palms with hair cascading downwards. Her crimson gown, 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 towards the winding and jagged coast of the fjord, Munch infused his photos with vitality and emotion. 


Munch’s inventive 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 spiritual views had been formed by scientific theories of Darwinian evolution and Monism, a philosophical perception that each 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 typically related to the picture that has turn into synonymous with fashionable nervousness, 

The Scream

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

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

The Solar (1912), nonetheless, 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 nice 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 under, infusing the rocks, water, and soil with power.  In associated works, the artist linked humankind to nature and the cosmos with pictures of individuals stretching upwards in the direction of the solar, an emblem 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 Demise), crops with anthropomorphic options develop out of the corpse of a girl. 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 encompassing crops. They counsel that the boundaries between humanity and nature are blurred—we don’t stand exterior the cycle of nature, we’re a part of it. There are not any clear distinctions between inside and exterior, materials and non-material, residing and useless.


All through his life, particular geographic websites impacted Munch and his inventive manufacturing. These locations the place Munch lived and labored for intervals of time turned 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 seemed 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. Certainly 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 girls standing on the pier through the summer time, 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 turned the central panel in a collection of 5 referred to as 

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

In 1910, Munch purchased property on the Oslo Fjord in Hvitsten, the place he created bathing scenes and constructed out of doors studios for his monumental works. As Munch embraced the therapeutic results of solar and the outside, his shade 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 ebook is revealed by MUNCH, Oslo, Norway and distributed by Yale College Press, New Haven. 

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