About this artwork
When Edvard Munch was thirteen years old, his sister Sophie died of tuberculosis. Nine years later, he created the first of five painted versions of The Sick Child, all representing Sophie just prior to her death. Munch later described the process of painting these works as a form of technical and personal catharsis.
Due to the great success of the paintings and his own psychological preoccupations, in 1894–96 Munch made three prints based on the motif, of which The Sick Child I was the last. In 1896 the artist traveled to Paris to experiment with new print-making processes and work with respected printers such as Auguste Clot, hoping to gain the commercial success that had previously eluded him in the French capital. There he made this, his first color lithograph, which features Sophie’s head silhouetted against a pillow. Munch printed the lithograph with several different stones and a variety of color combinations: he made the keystone either black or red and added up to four other color stones in combinations of blue, gray, red, yellow, reddish brown, and purple-blue. Munch was keenly aware of the symbolic associations of various colors, and the icy blue and stark black of this impression suggest the haunting pallor of death.
Currently Off View
- Prints and Drawings
- Edvard Munch
- The Sick Child I
- Transfer lithograph printed from two stones in pale blue and black ink on ivory wove paper
- 420 × 572 mm (image); 483 × 635 mm (sheet)
- Major Acquisitions Fund