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As an artist, Munch had a particular interest in people, but landscapes also make up a diversified group of drawings. In addition to quick pencil sketches, we find more ambitious works executed with charcoal, crayon, pen, and brush. Focus and character vary with changing “isms” and his own artistic development: early drawings from the 1870s gradually mature into more competent depictions of the surroundings of Kristiania (Oslo) (MM.T.00095-recto), landscapes he experiences when accompanying his father to military camps, or when visiting old friends and neighbours at Løten. During these early years landscape is a particularly important group of motifs. A growing assurance and precision combine with a striking ability to transform visual impressions into carefully worked-out compositions.

Towards the end of the 1880s, naturalism’s love for details gives way to a neoromantic simplification and atmosphere; from objective observation to “inner landscapes”. The shore line at Åsgårdstrand can be just as poetic with pencil (MM.T.00129-51-verso) as with the brush.

After the turn of the century, most of Munch’s landscapes are characterized by strong simplification and decorative stylization. And his drawings become marked by an increasingly free treatment of motifs from nature: “Art is visual form created through one’s nerves – eye – brain and heart” (MM.N.00570).

After Munch’s return to Norway in 1909, landscape takes on a renewed importance in his art; coastal and forest motifs from Kragerø (MM.T.02461), skerries from Hvitsten and cultivated landscapes around Moss. During his last 30 years, Ekely becomes the geographical centre of his life. In the capital’s rural periphery he captured the environments in a large number of drawings. He was fascinated by farm activities, he depicted meadows, woods and hills, captured – and recaptured – a red barn on his property, and the view towards the city lights on a winter’s night (MM.T.02421).