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Kunsthaus Zürich

Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch was the founding father of Nordic Expressionism and with more than twelve paintings the Kunsthaus hosts the largest collection of his work outside Norway. Music on Karl Johan Street was one of the first works to bring him recognition as an artist. With its bright relaxed style the scene initially calls to mind the street scenes of French Impressionism. However, despite the massed crowd pressed against the houses and the military band, the sweeping perspective from the large, looming figures in the foreground creates a street scene of strange and disconcerting emptiness expressing a state of psychological tension of the type that Munch was to push to its limits in The Scream a few years later. With the harsh red umbrella added later in the bottom corner Munch blocks out the natural light, thereby subduing the atmospheric play of colour. In terms of composition the head of the boy intrudes into a scene from which he is otherwise excluded; as Munch himself later remarked, he was processing a childhood memory.

Edvard Munch (1863–1944)
Musik auf der Strasse, 1889
Oil on canvas, 102 x 141,5 cm
Acquired 1941
© ProLitteris
Edvard Munch (1863–1944)
Musik auf der Strasse, 1889
Oil on canvas, 102 x 141,5 cm
Acquired 1941
© ProLitteris