The J. Paul Getty Museum

Starry Night

Object Details


Starry Night


Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863 - 1944)






Oil on canvas

Object Number:



135.9 × 140.3 cm (53 1/2 × 55 1/4 in.)

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Object Description

This night landscape represents the coastline at Åsgårdstrand, a small beach resort south of Oslo in Norway, where Edvard Munch spent his summers from the 1880s onward. Here Munch tried to capture the emotions called forth by the night rather than to record its picturesque qualities. The color blue conveys the mysticism and melancholy of the landscape, which seems full of premonitions. An abstract mound at the right represents a clump of trees; a white fence runs diagonally in front. The vaguely defined shape on the fence may be a shadow of two lovers, a recurring theme in Munch's work. He used an undulating line to depict the shoreline that continues into the trees at the right. Stars reflect in the water, and a flash of light in the trees shines brightly.

Varying thicknesses of blue and green paint are blended together to form the impression of a night sky. Some areas are thickly painted, while others are left bare to convey the lighter segments of the sky or a celestial phenomenon.


Oda Krogh, 1860 - 1935 (Oslo, Norway) and Christian Krogh, 1852 - 1925 (Oslo, Norway), acquired from the artist, 1893; by exchange with Munch for another picture, 1893.

1893 - before 1906

Edvard Munch, Norwegian, 1863 - 1944 (Oslo, Norway), sold to Fridtjof Nansen, before 1906.

before 1906 - still in 1927

Fridtjof Nansen, 1861 - 1930 (Oslo, Norway), sold to Johan Henrik Andresen I, before 1930.

before 1930 -

Johan Henrik Andresen I (Oslo, Norway), by inheritance to Eva Andresen.

by 1954 - about 1960

Eva Andresen (Oslo, Norway), by inheritance to Johan Henrik Andresen II, about 1960.

about 1960 - about 1965

Johan Henrik Andresen II (Oslo, Norway), by inheritance to Anton Frederik Andresen, about 1965.

about 1965 - still in 1982

Strand Corporation (Grand Cayman Island), sold through Aldis Browne Fine Arts, Ltd. (New York, New York) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

Eduard Munch: Gemälde-Ausstellung (1893)
  • Unter den Linden 19 (Berlin), 1893
Förteckning öfver Edvard Munch utställningen (October 1 to October 31, 1894)
  • Galerie Blanch i Konstföreningens lokal (Stockholm), October 1 to October 31, 1894
Sonder-Ausstellung des Edv. Munch (March 3 to March 24, 1895)
  • Ugo Barroccio Gallery (Berlin), March 3 to March 24, 1895
Edouard Munch (May 19, 1896 to ?)
  • Salon de l'art nouveau (Paris), 1896
Salon des Indépendants (April 3 to May 31, 1897)
  • Palais des Arts Libéraux (Paris), April 3 to May 31, 1897
Edevard Munch Udstilling (September 15 to October 17, 1897)
  • Dioramalokalet (Oslo), September 15 to October 17, 1897
Edv. Munchs udstilling (September 23, 1901 to ?)
  • Hollændergården (Oslo), 1901
Fünfte Kunstausstellung der Berliner Secession (1902)
  • Kurfürstendamm (Berlin), 1902
Edevard Munch udstilling (October 16, 1904 to ?)
  • Dioramalokalet (Oslo), 1904
Edvard Munch (February 5 to March 12, 1905) (possibly Getty painting)
  • Galerie Manes (Prague), February 5 to March 12, 1905
Den norske Udstilling (1906)
  • Palais de Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, 1906
Norwegische Künstler (January 13 to March 3, 1912)
  • Künstlerbund Hagen (Vienna), January 13 to March 3, 1912
Nutida Norsk Konst (March 17 to April 22, 1917)
  • Liljevalchs Konsthall (Stockholm), March 17 to April 22, 1917
Edvard Munch (1927)
  • Nasjonalgalleriet (Oslo), 1927
Edvard Munch (1927)
  • Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin), 1927
II Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (December 1953 to February 1954)
  • Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, December 1953 to February 1954
La Biennale di Venezia (XXVII) (1954)
  • Unknown, 1954
Ausstellung Edvard Munch (November 12, 1954 to February 20, 1955)
  • Haus der Kunst (Munich), November 12 to December 19, 1954
  • Wallraf-Richartz-Museum - Fondation Corboud (Cologne), January 3 to February 20, 1955
Arte nordica contemporanea: Danimarca, Islanda, Finlandia, Norvegia e Svezia (April to May, 1955)
  • Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Comune di Roma (Rome), April to May 1955
Næringslivet i Kunsten (February 9 to February 21, 1957)
  • Kunstnerforbundet (Oslo), February 9 to February 21, 1957
Munch-bilder i privat eie (January 25 to February 20, 1958)
  • Kunstnerforbundet (Oslo), January 25 to February 20, 1958
Edvard Munch, 1863-1944 (October 7 to November 30, 1958)
  • Kunstmuseum (Bern), October 7 to November 30, 1958
Edvard Munch: malarstwo i grafika (November 2 to December 15, 1959)
  • Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie (Warsaw), November 2 to December 15, 1959
Edvard Munch (November 9, 1962 to January 6, 1963)
  • Steinernes Haus (Frankfurt am Main), November 9, 1962 to January 6, 1963
L'Espressionismo: pittura, scultura, architettura (May to June, 1964)
  • Palazzo Strozzi (Florence), May to June 1964
Edvard Munch (October, 1965 to January, 1966)
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), October 1965 to January 1966
Munch, Nolde: The Relationship of Their Art (July to August, 1969)
  • Marlborough Gallery (London), July to August 1969
Edvard Munch (September 26, 1970 to February 14, 1971)
  • Kanagawa Kenritsu Kindai Bijutsukan (Kamakura), September 26 to October 18, 1970
  • Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art (Nagoya), October 21 to November 13, 1970
  • National Museum of Modern Art (Kyoto), January 20 to February 14, 1971
Edvard Munch, 1863-1944 (October 6, 1973 to May 12, 1974)
  • Haus der Kunst (Munich), October 6 to December 16, 1973
  • The Hayward Gallery (London), January 12 to March 3, 1974
  • Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), March 22 to May 12, 1974
Edvard Munch: Symbols & Images (November 11, 1978 to February 19, 1979)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), November 11, 1978 to February 19, 1979
The Masterworks of Edvard Munch (March 15 to April 24, 1979)
  • The Museum of Modern Art (New York), March 15 to April 24, 1979
Interjections (February 15 to June 12, 2005)
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), February 15 to June 12, 2005
Pictorialist Photography and Painting (May 22 to September 7, 2014)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 22 to September 7, 2014

Eduard Munch: Gemälde-Ausstellung, exh. cat. (Berlin: Unter den Linden 19, 1893), unpaginated, no. 17 (possibly Getty painting).

Förteckning öfver Edvard Munch utställningen, exh. cat. (Stockholm: Konstföreningens lokal, 1894), p. 3, no. 42 (possibly Getty painting).

Sonder-Ausstellung des Edv. Munch, exh. cat. (Berlin: Ugo Baroccio, 1895), unpaginated, no. 12 (possibly Getty painting).

Katalog: Edevard Munch Udstilling, exh. cat. (Oslo: Dioramalokalet, 1897), unpaginated, no. 85 (possibly Getty painting).

Société des artistes indépendants [...] Catalogue des oeuvres exposées, 1897, exh. cat. (Paris: Palais des arts libéraux, 1897), p. 60, no. 826 (possibly Getty painting).

Katalog der fünften Kunstausstellung der Berliner Secession, exh. cat. (Berlin: Paul Cassirer, 1902), p. 32, no. 187 (possibly Getty painting).

Fortegnelse over Kunstvaerkerne paa den norske Udstilling, Charlottenborg Efteraaret 1906, exh. cat. (Copenhagen: Kunstforeningen, 1906), p. 11, no. 185.

Norwegische Künstler, exh. cat. (Vienna: Künstlerbund Hagen, 1912), unpaginated, no. 16 (possibly Getty painting).

Nutida norsk konst, exh. cat. (Stockholm: Liljevalchs konsthall, 1917), p. 19, no. 142.

Øverland, Arnulf. Edvard Munch (Kristiania: Berg & Høghs Forlag, 1921), p. 53, ill.

Edvard Munch, exh. cat. (Oslo: Nasjonalgalleriet, 1927), p. 25, no. 65.

Edvard Munch, exh. cat. (Berlin: Nationalgalerie, 1927), p. 18, no. 36.

Thiis, Jens. Edvard Munch og hans samtid: slekten, livet og kunsten, geniet (Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1933), pp. 326, 328-29, ill.

Hodin, J. P. Edvard Munch, der Genius des Nordens (Stockholm: Neuer Verlag, 1948), pp. 47, 136, fig. 87.

II Bienal do Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo: catálogo geral, exh. cat. (São Paulo: Museu de Arte Moderna, 1953), p. 260, no. 4.

La Biennale di Venezia, exh. cat. (Venice: Lombroso Editore, 1954), p. 414, no. 17.

Ausstellung Edvard Munch, exh. cat. (Munich: Haus der Kunst, 1954), p. 22, no. 28, pl. 57.

Arte nordica contemporanea: Danimarca, Islanda, Finlandia, Norvegia e Svezia, exh. cat. (Rome: Palazzo delle Esposizioni, 1955), p. 108, no. 4074.

Edvard Munch, 1863-1944, exh. cat. (Bern: Kunstmuseum, 1958), p. 20, no. 17.

Munch-bilder i privat eie: malerier, akvareller, tegninger, exh. cat. (Oslo: Kunstnerforbundet, 1958), unpaginated, no. 12.

Edvard Munch: malarstwo i grafika, exh. cat. (Warsaw: Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, 1959), p. 16, no. 6, pl. 10 (illustrates Getty painting but confuses it with a work from the National Gallery, Oslo).

Langaard, Ingrid. Edvard Munch, modningsår: en studie i tidlig ekspresjonisme og symbolisme (Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1960), pp. 196, 198, 443, 468, fig. 97.

Langaard, Johan H., and Reidar Revold. Edvard Munch fra år til år: en håndbok; A Year by Year Record of Edvard Munch's Life: A Handbook (Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co., 1961), p. 23.

Rathke, Ewald. Edvard Munch, exh. cat. (Frankfurt: Steinernes Haus, 1962), unpaginated, no. 14, ill.

L'Espressionismo: pittura, scultura, architettura, exh. cat. (Florence: Palazzo Strozzi, 1964), pp. 16, 31, no. 15, ill.

Edvard Munch, exh. cat. (New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1965), p. 45, no. 21, ill.

Hamilton, George Heard. "Munch at the Guggenheim Museum, New York." Burlington Magazine 108, no. 756 (March 1966), p. 163.

Stevens, William. "Munch in America." Art News 64, no. 9. (January 1966), p. 42.

Boe, Roy Asbjörn. "Edvard Munch: His Life and Work from 1880 to 1920." Ph.D. diss. (New York University, 1969), vol. 1, pp. 193-94, 236, 374; vol. 2, p. 92, fig. 92.

Munch, Nolde: The Relationship of Their Art, exh. cat. (London: Marlborough Gallery, 1969), p. 12, no. 6.

Edvard Munch, exh. cat. (Kamakura: Museum of Modern Art, 1970), pp. 27, 162-63, 183-84, no. 10, ill.

Edvard Munch: Aquarelle und Zeichnungen aus dem Munch-museet, Oslo, exh. cat. (Berlin: Nationalgalerie, 1971), unpaginated (see chronology, under 1893).

Messer, Thomas M. Edvard Munch (New York: H. N. Abrams, 1971), pp. 90-91, pl. 19.

Edvard Munch, exh. cat. (Kyoto: National Museum for Modern Art, 1971), pp. 27, 133, 183-84, no. 10, ill.

Hodin, J. P. Edvard Munch (New York and Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1972), pp. 69-70, fig. 49.

Stang, Nicolay. Edvard Munch. Carol J. Knudsen, trans. (Oslo: Johan Grundt Tanum Forlag, 1972), pp. 119-20, 176, ill.

Svenæus, Gösta. Edvard Munch: im männlichen Gehirn. 2 vols. (Lund: Vetenskaps-Societeten, 1973), vol. 1, pp. 131, 209, 318; vol. 2, p. 58, fig. 90.

Edvard Munch, 1863-1944, exh. cat. (Munich: Haus der Kunst, 1973), pp. 27, 48, 88, no. 17, ill.

Edvard Munch, 1863-1944, exh. cat. (London: Hayward Gallery, 1974), p. 16, no. 17.

Edvard Munch, 1863-1944, exh. cat. (Paris: Musée national d'art moderne, 1974), pp. 16, 22, no. 17.

Hougen, Paal, and Ursula Perucchi-Petri. Munch und Ibsen, exh. cat. (Zürich: Kunsthaus, 1976), pp. 21-22.

Dunlop, Ian. Edvard Munch (London: Thames & Hudson, 1977), unpaginated, no. 20, ill.

Stang, Ragna. Edvard Munch: The Man and His Art. Geoffrey Culverwell, trans. (New York: Abbeville Press, 1977), pp. 115-16, 307, fig. 140.

Eggum, Arne, et al., eds. Edvard Munch: Symbols & Images, exh. cat. (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1978), pp. 42-43, 101, 102, 108, 257, no. 32, ill.

Lathe, Carla. Edvard Munch and His Literary Associates, exh. cat. (Norwich: Library Concourse, University of East Anglia, 1979), pp. 18, 20.

Eggum, Arne, and John Elderfield. The Masterworks of Edvard Munch, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1979), pp. 28-29, 59, ill.

Eggum, Arne. "Anziehung." In Edvard Munch: Liebe, Angst, Tod, exh. cat. (Bielefeld: Kunsthalle, 1980), pp. 79-80, fig. 2.

Eggum, Arne. "The Landscape Motif in Munch's Art." In Munch Exhibition, exh. cat. (Tokyo: National Museum of Modern Art, 1981), p. 248, fig. 16.

Eggum, Arne. Der Linde-Fries: Edvard Munch und sein erster deutscher Mäzen, Dr. Max Linde (Lübeck: Senat der Hansestadt Lübeck, Amt für Kultur, 1982), p. 5.

Timm, Werner. Edvard Munch. Lisbeth Gombrich, trans. (Berlin: Henschelverlag Kunst und Gesellschaft, 1982), no. 4, ill.

Eggum, Arne. Edvard Munch: Paintings, Sketches, and Studies. Ragnar Christophersen, trans. (New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1983), pp. 98-99, 294, fig. 167.

Geelhaar, Christian, et al., eds. Edvard Munch: sein Werk in Schweizer Sammlungen, exh. cat. (Basel: Kunstmuseum, 1985), p. 68, under no. 29; p. 77, under no. 45.

"Acquisitions/1984." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 13 (1985), p. 214, no. 150, ill.

Skedsmo, Tone. "Tautrekking om Det syke barn." Kunst og Kultur 68, no. 3 (1985), pp. 184, 194n5.

Messer, Thomas M. Edvard Munch. Rev. ed. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1985), pp. 76-77, pl. 15.

Anderson, Katherine E. "The Landscapes of Edvard Munch: A Medium of Communication and the Continuation of a Tradition." M.A. thesis (Michigan State University, 1985), pp. 7, 103, fig. 2.

Ballo, Guido. "L'incontro con Munch in questa mostra." In Munch, exh. cat. (Milan: Palazzo Reale & Palazzo Bagatti Valsecchi, with Mazzotta, 1985), pp. 23, 25-26, ill.

Eggum, Arne. "The Landscape Motif." In Edvard Munch, exh. cat. (Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 1986), p. 36.

Torjusen, Bente. Words and Images of Edvard Munch (London: Thames and Hudson, 1986), pp. 36-37, 76-77, 153n76, ill.

Edvard Munch, exh. cat. (Essen: Museum Folkwang, 1987), unpaginated, under no. 52, entry by Simon Maurer.

Eggum, Arne. Munch og Fotografi (Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1987), pp. 60-61, 201, fig. 76.

Bowen, Anne McElroy. "Munch and Agoraphobia: His Art and His Illness." RACAR 15, no. 1 (1988), p. 49.

Dorn, Roland. "Edvard Munch in Paris." In Edvard Munch: Sommernacht am Oslofjord, um 1900, exh. cat. Jürgen von Schemm et al., eds. (Mannheim: Städtische Kunsthalle, 1988), p. 43.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), unpaginated, no. 51, ill.

Lippincott, Louise. Edvard Munch: Starry Night (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), passim, figs. 1, 22, cover ill.

Schemm, Jürgen von. "Edvard Munch und Arnold Böcklin." In Edvard Munch: Sommernacht am Oslofjord, um 1900, exh. cat. Jürgen von Schemm et al., eds. (Mannheim: Städtische Kunsthalle, 1988), p. 47n15.

Schemm, Jürgen von, et al., eds. Edvard Munch: Sommernacht am Oslofjord, um 1900, exh. cat. (Mannheim: Städtische Kunsthalle, 1988), pp. 128-29, no. 21, ill., entry by Jürgen von Schemm (painting not lent to exhibition).

Schneede, Uwe M. Edvard Munch: The Early Masterpieces. Anne Heritage and Paul Kremmel, trans. (Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1988), p. 18, pl. 15.

Eggum, Arne. Munch and Photography. Birgit Holm, trans. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1989), pp. 60-61, 201, fig. 76.

Eggum, Arne. Edvard Munch: livsfrisen fra maleri til grafikk (Oslo: J. M. Stenersens Forlag, 1990), pp. 75, 78-80, fig. 97.

Epstein, Sarah G. "Living with Edvard Munch Images: A Collector in Three Stages." In Edvard Munch: Master Prints from the Epstein Family Collection, exh. cat. (Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1990), pp. 27, 38n10, 41n36.

Southwell, Bill. Review of Edvard Munch: Starry Night, by Louise Lippincott. Academy Review (April 1990), unpaginated.

Wood, Mara-Helen, ed. Edvard Munch: The Frieze of Life, exh. cat. (London: National Gallery, 1992), p. 55, under no. 2, entry by Marit Lande.

Shimoyama, Hajime, ed. Munch by Munch (Tokyo: Nihon Keizai Shimbun, 1993), pp. 38-39, 91, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995), unpaginated, no. 50, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 90, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Paintings (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 126-27, no. 68, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 146, ill.

Howe, Jeffery. "Introduction: Munch in Context." In Edvard Munch: Psyche, Symbol and Expression, exh. cat. Jeffery Howe, ed. (Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, 2001), pp. 11, 19n1.

Howe, Jeffery. "Nocturnes: The Music of Melancholy, and the Mysteries of Love and Death." In Edvard Munch: Psyche, Symbol and Expression, exh. cat. Jeffery Howe, ed. (Boston: McMullen Museum of Art, 2001), p. 68.

Cordulack, Shelley Wood. Edvard Munch and the Physiology of Symbolism (Madison and Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; London: Associated University Presses, 2002), pp. 20, 103.

Walsh-Piper, Kathleen. Image to Word: Art and Creative Writing (Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2002), pp. 24-25, fig. 2.10.

Mørstad, Erik. "Edvard Munchs bruk av slagskygger." Kunst og Kultur 86, no. 2 (2003), pp. 71, 78-81, fig. 6 (mistakenly illustrates Wuppertal version).

Schröder, Klaus Albrecht, and Antonia Hoerschelmann, eds. Edvard Munch: Theme and Variation, exh. cat. (Vienna: Albertina, with Hatje Cantz, 2003), pp. 157-59, text by Dieter Buchhart.

Allen, Denise, et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, with Thames & Hudson, 2003), pp. 126-27, no. 68, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

Mørstad, Erik. "Edvard Munchs Livsfrise: struktur, kontekst og kritikk." Kunst og Kultur 87, no. 3 (2004), p. 133.

Mørstad, Erik. "Munch og Böcklin: en komparativ analyse." Kunst og Kultur 87, no. 3 (2004), pp. 158-59, 160, fig. 1 (mistakenly illustrates Wuppertal version).

Prideaux, Sue. Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2005), pp. 146-47, 206, 346n33, 353n4, pl. 41.

McShine, Kynaston, et al., eds. Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul, exh. cat. (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2006), pp. 114, 206, pl. 42.

Titus-Carmel, Gérard. Edvard Munch, entre chambre et ciel (Besançon: Editions Virgile, 2007), pp. 44-46.

Woll, Gerd. Edvard Munch, Complete Paintings: Catalogue Raisonné. Vol. 1, 1880-1897 (London: Thames & Hudson, 2009), p. 302, no. 320, ill.

Olson, Donald W., et al. "Edvard Munch's Starry Nights, Stormy Skies, and Summer Sunrises." The Griffith Observer (August 2009), pp. 2-19, ill.

Høifødt, Frank. Edvard Munch (London: Tate Publishing, 2012), pp. 13, 40, fig. 29.

Fredericksen, Burton B. The Burdens of Wealth: Paul Getty and His Museum (Bloomington: Archway Publishing, 2015), p. 274.

Allan, Scott, Davide Gasparotto, Peter Björn Kerber, and Anne T. Woollett. Masterpieces of Painting: J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2018), pp. 17, 122, ill.

Prideaux, Susan. "Fjord Eyes Only." Apollo 189, no. 674 (April 2019), p. 69, ill.