Edvard Munch Melancholy III (Melankoli III) 1902

  • Not on view

Norwegian painter, printmaker, and draftsman Edvard Munch drew from his own life to make work examining what he called, “the modern life of the soul,” encompassing such universal human experiences as birth, innocence, love, sexual passion, melancholy, anger, jealousy, despair, anxiety, illness, and death. In Melancholy III (Melankoli III), the entire seaside landscape becomes an expression of Munch’s mood, and the pensive foreground figure seems embedded into his surroundings.

Munch believed that conveying emotion was more important than making naturalistic images of the world. As he wrote, “Nature is not something that can be seen by the eye alone—it lies also within the soul, in pictures seen by the inner eye.” Ultimately, painting became a kind of religious endeavor for him, a means through which he hoped to “understand the meaning of life [and] help others gain an understanding of their lives.”

Woodcut with gouache additions
composition: 14 3/4 x 18 9/16" (37.5 x 47.2 cm); sheet: 20 1/2 x 25 7/8" (52 x 65.8 cm)
Edvard Munch, Berlin
M.W. Lassally, Berlin
more than 100 impressions
The William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A.J. Hall Collection
Object number
© 2024 The Munch Museum / The Munch-Ellingsen Group / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Drawings and Prints

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Provenance Research Project

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Galerie Beyeler, Basel; [sold to Hauswedell, Hamburg, 1966]; sold through Kornfeld & Klipstein, Bern, auction #121 (lot #759) to Heinz Berggruen/Contemporary Art Establishment, Zurich, June 11, 1966; sold to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1968.

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