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Stéphane Mallarmé

A work made of transfer lithograph with crayon and scraping in green on cream japanese paper.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of transfer lithograph with crayon and scraping in green on cream japanese paper.




Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863-1944)
printed by Auguste Clot (French, 1858-1936)

About this artwork

Stéphane Mallarmé is today considered one of France’s most important poets of the second half of the nineteenth century. Although he was known for the obscure imagery and difficult syntax of his verse, Mallarmé enjoyed the friendship of other modern thinkers, in particular, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists such as Édouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Odilon Redon, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, and James McNeill Whistler. Despite the fact that much of his poetry is unabashedly extreme and difficult to decipher, artists continue, to this day, to turn to his evocative verse for inspiration.

Edvard Munch met Mallarmé during a trip to Paris in 1896–97, and he became a regular guest at Mallarmé’s Tuesday night soirees, where he mingled with other visionaries of the day such as August Strindberg and Vincent van Gogh. In this portrait, Munch depicted the poet as a disembodied head, floating almost mystically. The use of green ink recalls the faded green accouterments of Mallarmé’s study. Of this portrait Munch said, “I drew him in half-shadow which matched his character.” Though it is not known whether this was a commissioned portrait, it might have been intended for the frontispiece of an edition of the complete works of Mallarmé, published in 1897. The project ultimately failed because Munch worked too slowly. Regardless of that disappointment, Mallarmé was pleased with the final print and described it as a “gripping portrait, which gives me an intimate sense of myself.”


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Edvard Munch


Stéphane Mallarmé


Norway (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Transfer lithograph with crayon and scraping in green on cream Japanese paper


Image: 37.3 × 29.2 cm (14 11/16 × 11 1/2 in.); Sheet: 63.7 × 43.8 cm (25 1/8 × 17 1/4 in.)

Credit Line

Stanley Field Collection

Reference Number


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