Edvard Munch, The Sick Child, a drypoint

Germany, AD 1894

Munch's first attempt at this theme of the sick child was in a painting of 1885-86, exhibited under the title Study, which Munch (1863-1944) later saw as his 'breakthrough into expressionistic painting'. The theme had clear personal associations for Munch: his mother and elder sister had both died from tuberculosis when he was a child and it was his aunt who posed for the figure of the distraught woman.

After Munch lept to fame after the closure of an exhibition in Berlin in 1892, the demand for his work led him to create a portfolio of eight drypoints based on his most celebrated composition. This was published in 1895, and included this print.

There is no equivalent in any of the painted versions to the landscape on the lower section of the print which had often puzzled people. It may be that he intended to contrast the blooming life of nature with the dying of humanity.

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Edvard Munch, The Sick Child, a drypoint

© 2001 Munch Museum / Munch - Ellingsen Group / DACS


More information


F. Carey, Modern Scandinavian prints, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

R. Rosenblum and others, Edvard Munch: symbols and imag, exh. cat. (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1978)

F. Carey and A. Griffiths, The print in Germany 1880-1933, exh. cat. (London, The British Museum Press, 1984)


Height: 390.000 mm
Width: 293.000 mm

Museum number

PD 1949-4-11-4792


Bequeathed by Campbell Dodgson


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