'The Scream' by Edvard Munch, one of the most famous, if not the most famous work of art in the world, has been part of Museum De Reede's permanent collection since November 2022. However, this is not 'The Scream' as we usually know it: full of colour and with a menacing orange sky. This is due to the fact that Munch made several versions of this work, including a lithography or lithograph in black and white.



"...I felt the great cry throughout nature..."

- Edvard Munch, 1892-


Of the versions "in colour", four copies exist: two in tempera, a drawn version in coloured pencil and a pastel. Of the black-and-white lithographic version, Munch printed 30 copies, of which only 15 are on display in museum collections around the world, including at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Washington National Gallery and at the Munch Museet in Oslo.

The Scream oil

The main figure

The way Munch depicts this experience, with a central figure on a bridge and two figures in the background, is familiar to us all. However, when we take a look at other works prior to 'The Scream', we find that he had been toying with this idea for much longer. The perspective used, the red sky, the diagonal bridge, the characters in the distance, are a recurring feature and prove a persistent search for the perfect composition.

  • MM.G.00204-01
    (c) Munchmuseet
  • Alphas Despair | 1908-1909 | Lithography(c) Munchmuseet
    Alpha's Despair
  • T0126-10b_20070905
    Man leaning against railing
    Sketcbook drawing
  • Despair 1892
  • Scream coloured litho 1895-1
    Handcoloured lithography
  • Scream sketches 1893-1895
    Three sketches for The Scream
    Pen (ink) Pencil

Andy Warhol was also inspired...

In 1984-85, Andy Warhol also produced a series of 15 silkscreen prints entirely in his own style, reworking 'The Scream'. It is partly thanks to Warhol that 'The Scream' has since been reproduced, reworked countless times and the image has spread worldwide as an icon. 'The Scream' appears in countless cartoons, TV series and films and will undoubtedly remain a fixture in our collective visual culture for decades to come.



The scream - toiletpapier2

The Scream in popular culture

So we can all empathise with the expression of anguish and despair that 'The Scream' depicts, but it is undoubtedly the almost cartoonish main figure that has given the work its universal fame and made it part of our collective memory. As early as 1898, the work was first reproduced as an illustration to a newspaper article, and since then it really seems to be popping up everywhere in our popular culture.