“Wood is something that is alive,” Munch stated, and he saw the material as a source of primal energies to be released through carving. Munch used the physical qualities of the wood in the image, carving against the grain of the woodblock so that the horizontals of the sky run perpendicular to the vertical striations of the wood. With each cut into the block, Munch met the resistance of the grain, generating a tension in his process that mimicked the woodcut’s emotional subject.
Gallery label from 2021
The standard practice for creating color woodcuts is to carve separate woodblocks for each color and then ink and print them successively, one over the other, on a sheet of paper. Munch devised a simplified process in which he cut out each section of the composition from a single woodblock, like a jigsaw puzzle. He then inked each element in the desired color and fit all the pieces back together. With this method, printing required only one run through the press.
Gallery label from Edvard Munch: The Scream, October 24, 2012–April 29, 2013.