(Norway 12 Dec 1863 – 23 Jan 1944)
13.8 x 17.8 cm platemark; 21.4 x 25.7 cm sheet
The greatest Norwegian painter and printmaker, and an individual whose influence on the course of twentieth-century art is inestimable, Edvard Munch was prone to morbid imaginings and depressive episodes throughout his life. These stemmed from the sad and all-too-real experiences of his early years. He lost both his mother and sister to illness, watching them deteriorate, waste and die. 'The sick girl' is a print that recalls one of the most significant paintings of his early maturity, a study specific to the deathly events in the artist's family yet universal in its application. Pictured in profile against the tomb-like slab of a pillow, the frail figure represents not so much a sick child as all sick children. It is thus a definitive example of symbolism, the literary style which the artist embraced in his youth. Yet so feverish is Munch's line, and so severe his contrast of dark and light, we have no trouble sensing the searing expressionism to which he progressed in the coming years.
Art Gallery Handbook, 1999.
Nicholas Draffin, Prints in Germany 1880-1940, Sydney South, 1989, 6.
Renée Free, Fin de Siècle, Sydney, Jan 1994.
Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales Handbook, 'Western Collection: Works on Paper', pg. 78-92, Sydney, 1999, 84 (illus.).
Prints in Germany 1880-1940, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 28 Oct 1989–07 Jan 1990
Fin de Siècle: posters prints drawings from the collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 15 Jan 1994–13 Mar 1994
Professor Sadler, Japan and Australian modernism, University Art Gallery, University of Sydney, Camperdown, 03 Apr 2011–24 Jul 2011