Munch sketches available online

Munch Museum has digitized and released some 7,600 sketches, many previously unknown

The Local

Munch sketches

Image: Munch Museum
A detail from a page called Three Sketches for “The Scream” shows Munch’s development of the motif he would return to many times.

Surprisingly different initial versions of Norwegian art icon Edvard Munch’s signature work “The Scream” have seen the light of day after more than 7,600 sketches, many previously unknown, were published for unrestricted use.

Among the released drawings are sketches showing how “The Scream” looked before the world-famous version, reports Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet.
More than 100 years on from a fateful stroll in Oslo’s Ekeburg area, when a blood-red sunset gave Edvard Munch the inspiration for what became the work for which he is arguably best known, the Munch Museum is releasing previously unknown sketches and drawings by the Norwegian artist.

The museum is publishing for unrestricted use pictures of all the artist’s drawings gathered in a new database, Dagbladet writes.

“We want the art to be available to people everywhere,” director of the Munch Museum Stein Olav Henrichsen said.

“There are especially two reasons why we wanted to digitalize all Munch’s drawings. The first reason was that the drawings were unknown. The second was that digitalizing the entire collection was truly a dream of ours. Digitalization is something museums all over the world have struggled with and work towards, and we want Munch to be present in a digital world,” Henrichsen added.

The Munch Museum has received NOK 22 million (some $2.8 million) in support from the Bergesen Foundation, a non-profit foundation benefitting social and humanitarian projects, Dagbladet reports.

Of the NOK 22 million, NOK 12 million has been allocated to digitalization of the drawings, and NOK 10 million will later be used to digitalize all other works of art, including graphic works, photos, paintings, and sculptures. The funds will also finance a new biography on Edvard Munch, which is being launched internationally.

Four art historians have spent four years systemizing, scanning, and digitalizing the drawings. In total, they have entered 7,644 drawings into the database.

The collection is available for everyone—Munch’s works, including the early versions of “The Scream,” can be searched in the electronic collection available on the Munch Museum’s website:

This article originally appeared in the March 23, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.