Station: [13] Edvard Munch: "Fisherman by the Water", 1881

  • Museum Kunst der Westküste

Edvard Munch’s 1881 work Fisherman by the Water is one of his first oil paintings. With loose brushstrokes the only eighteen-year-old Munch captures a scene at a fjord. To the left is a rocky bank topped by a grove of birch trees with dense light-green foliage and dark spruces. In the background is dark woodland. Into this landscape the painter integrates an angler in the foreground and a boat with the silhouettes of two figures in the right middle ground. The reflection of the woodland backdrop in the still water surface and the motionless figures underscore the peaceful atmosphere of a summer day in the pristine vastness and tranquillity of the Norwegian landscape. Scenes featuring individual figures on the seashore remain important to the work of Edvard Munch. The shore serves as stage for symbolically charged visions of human emotions such as fear, melancholy and love. The rocky bank, in particular, points to the lasting fascination exerted by the fjords and the small port town of Åsgårdstrand, which he frequently visited. Around 1890, Munch moved from the outward experience of nature to visualising it through his inner experience. Along with Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin, he is considered the most important precursor of expressionist art in Europe.