Night in Saint-Cloud Edvard Munch Buy Art Prints Now
from Amazon

* As an Amazon Associate, and partner with Google Adsense and Ezoic, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Night in Saint-Cloud is a carefully constructed composition from Edvard Munch which balances light and dark in order to reveal elements of a small room, as a smartly dressed gentleman looks out of the window.

The small window to the right hand side, partly obscured by some curtains, provides all of the light in this scene, including a reflection of itself on the floor in the foreground. The turqoise tones provide a deep contrast against the otherwise much darker tones. This approach reminds us of the work of Whistler, as well as a number of paintings from this Norwegian artist's career. The way in which the male figure is delivered in such low levels of detail makes him somewhat mysterious, leading the viewer to wonder just who he was, and what was the purpose of his activities for that day.

The interior of this room is particularly bare, perhaps more so inline with the style of this age rather than attempting to give away clues about the type of setting. Elements of this room are maybe not the significant element of the painting, more so the artist's display of abrupt colour. The way in which he constructs the walls and floor will remind many of the techniques of the impressionist movement, which did indeed have similarities with the occasional Munch artwork. Another related painting from Munch was this self portrait.

Munch put long brushstrokes in many of his paintings and these can be seen in the larger image of this painting that is included below. Elements of the background were sometimes constructed from just a single stroke of colour, see the boats in the background of his The Scream, for example. The overall composition would always lead the eye in the way the artist intended, meaning only minimal detail to supporting elements would still be enough. This was very much the style used by expressionists. Making out individual strokes of the brush is an ideal way of trying to understand the methods used by any artist, some then wishing to try to recreate famous paintings such as this themselves.

Night in Saint-Cloud in Detail Edvard Munch