Paul Gauguin and an artist he influenced, Edvard Munch, were among the late nineteenth-century artists attracted to the formal and emotive possibilities of woodcut. For this print—only his second in the medium—Munch developed a complex and innovative technique. Rather than prepare a separate block for each color, he cut the block into pieces that were individually inked for local areas of color and then, like a jigsaw puzzle, reassembled for printing. He usually created one block for the main figure and another for the background. With his rough carving, flattened pictorial space, and emphasis on the materiality of the wood itself—scraped to reveal the natural grain when printed—Munch was an important influence for early twentieth-century artists who embraced woodcut as one of the key mediums of Expressionism.
Munch adapted this melancholy composition from one of his earlier paintings of a woman, perhaps his first love, with whom he had a brief, unhappy affair.
Color woodcut on laid paper
image: 15 15/16 × 18 1/2 in. (40.5 × 47 cm)
sheet: 18 13/16 × 22 7/8 in. (47.8 × 58.1 cm)
Notation in artist's hand (recto). Probably the artist's proof.
This item is not on view
Carll H. de Silver Fund
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.