Night in Saint-Cloud

Edvard Munch Norwegian

Not on view

This early study dates from the two-year transformational period during which Munch lived and trained in France. It is the only known compositional drawing related to a significant series of works (paintings, pastels, and a print) of the same title featuring the solitary man in a top hat seated in profile by a window at night. The setting is the room the artist rented in Saint-Cloud on the outskirts of Paris, where he moved in December 1889 to escape a cholera outbreak in the city. The shadowy darkness of the room, the bowed and dejected posture of the figure, and the cruciform shadow cast on the floor by the window mullions all contribute to the common interpretation of the work as a psychological self-portrait of the artist mourning the recent death of his father. Munch’s suggestive rather than descriptive use of the graphite pencil obscures detail and produces a hazy, mysterious mood enhancing the sense of loneliness, alienation, and longing conveyed by the drawing.

Night in Saint-Cloud, Edvard Munch (Norwegian, Løten 1863–1944 Ekely), Graphite

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