The Scream, or as Edvard Munch (1863-1944) called it, Der Schrei Der Natur (The Scream of Nature) is one of the most famous paintings in history. Art critic Arthur Ludlow even describes it as “the Mona Lisa of modern art.” In 1893 Munch created four pieces of the same composition; one with pastels, and three in oil paint. The pastel version sold in 2012 for over $119 million. Ironically, Munch lived on a tiny stipend from his father for much of his early career, and was subjected to a large amount of negative criticism by art authorities, as well as his family members. Munch’s iconic masterpiece is the “study of the soul, that is to say the study of my own self,” as stated by Munch himself. It was painted to represent a day when the artist was out for a walk, and dropped back from his friends when he felt tired and ill. As the sun set, he says he leaned against the fence, and saw and felt the scream of nature, which he describes as tongues of fire and blood reaching over the black and bluish fjord.
Subject to bouts of anxiety and mental illness, Munch was institutionalized in 1908 for anxiety and hallucinations from his rough and tumble life for most of a whole year. Munch lived out his last two decades in Oslo on a self-sufficient estate, in relative comfort, having created a following for his artwork, and produced many paintings of nudes from a steady group of female models. When Munch was 76 he was worried about the Nazis confiscating his “degenerate art” and he hid his strongest pieces, including The Scream. When Munch died at 80, his paintings were bequeathed to the city of Oslo. In 1963 the Edvard Munch Museum opened with over 1,000 original paintings, 4,000 sketches, and 18,000 prints.
I painted this version of The Scream to show the anxiety one may feel because of an empty pint. I cannot take credit for this idea, as my friend, and fellow beer-enthusiast Rich Morgan came up with this concept. I thought it was brilliant when he told me about it, and I had to execute it. I call this painting The Scream over an Empty Pint.