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Gallery Text

Munch worked in Paris from 1889 to 1892 and created numerous images of the city’s broad boulevards. Painted just two years before his canonical composition, The Scream, this image of the Rue de Rivoli shows the Norwegian artist responding to the influences of French impressionism and later movements.

The viewer is positioned on a high balcony, part of it shown at left as a tower of purple and green rectangles that seem to hover in space, tilting precariously over the street. Despite the high vantage point, the street lurches jarringly upward, leaving room for only a small triangle of sky. Activity on the street is highly abstracted: figures and carriages, represented in the foreground by smears of paint evocative of a photographic blur, appear in the background as a flurry of pointillist dots.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Edvard Munch, Norwegian (Loiten, Norway 1863 - 1944 Ekely, Norway)
Rue de Rivoli
Work Type
Creation Place: Europe, France, Paris
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Oil on canvas
81 x 65.1 cm (31 7/8 x 25 5/8 in.)
framed: 95.9 x 80.3 x 3.8 cm (37 3/4 x 31 5/8 x 1 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.r.: E. Munch
  • label: bottom of frame: Munch, Ed / Strasse in Paris


Recorded Ownership History
Halfdan Nobel Roede, Vindern, Norway (after 1922 - by 1927). German private collection? (by 1933). Rudolf Serkin, gift; to Fogg Art Museum, 1963.

Wartmann, 1922, lists painting as being for sale
Thiis, 1933, cites German private collection but gives no additional information.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Rudolf Serkin
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • W. Wartmann, Ausstellung Edvard Munch, exh. cat., Kunsthaus Zürich (Zurich, Switzerland, 1922), no. 2
  • Edvard Munch, exh. cat., Kirstes boktrykkeri and Nasjonalgalleriet (Oslo, Norway, 1927), no. 47
  • Jens Thiis, Edvard Munch og hans samtid: slekten, livet og kunsten geniet, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag (Oslo, 1933), pp. 188, 191, repr. in b/w on p. 190.
  • Nic Stang, Edvard Munch, Johan Grundt Tanum Forlag (Oslo, Norway, 1972), p. 84, repr. in b/w p. 79
  • Charles Werner Haxthausen, "The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard: the Germanic Tradition", Apollo (May 1978), vol. 107, no. 195, pp. 403-413, p. 410, repr. p. 408 as fig. 5
  • Arne Eggum, Edvard Munch: Symbols and Images, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C., 1978), p. 259
  • Charles Werner Haxthausen, The Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University, Abbeville Press (New York, NY, 1980), p. 42, repr.
  • Charles Werner Haxthausen, ed., Deutsche Kunst des 20. jahrhunderts aus dem Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, 1983), repr. in color pl. I, pp. 44-46
  • Ferdinand Hodler und das Schweizer Kunstlerplakat, 1890-1920, exh. cat., Kunstgewerbemuseum der Stadt Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland, 1983), repr. in b/w p. 10
  • Sarah Epstein, The Prints of Edvard Munch: Mirror of his Life, exh. cat., Allen Memorial Art Museum (Oberlin, Ohio, 1983), p. 41, fig. 48
  • Arne Eggum, Edvard Munch: Paintings, Sketches, and Studies, Thames & Hudson (London, England, 1984), p. 72, 73, fig. 123
  • Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 368, p. 309, repr. in color
  • Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 92, color plate; pp. 122, 276, repr. b/w cat. no. 464
  • Edvard Munch, Munch et la France, exh. cat., Editions de la Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 1991), repr. as fig. 74, p. 103; p. 130
  • La Ville, Art et Architecture en Europe 1870-1993, exh. cat., Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou (Paris, France, 1994), repr. in color p. 59
  • Frédéric Gaussen, Le 4e arrondissement vu par les peintres, Editions Adam Biro (Paris, France, 1998), repr. in color p. 17, text pp. 16, 18
  • Alexander Sturgis, Telling Time, exh. cat., National Gallery Company Limited (London, England, 2000), no. 19, pp. 49-50
  • Jay A. Clarke, Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth, exh. cat., Yale University Press (U.S.) and The Art Institute of Chicago (New Haven and London, 2009), p. 44 as cat. no 47, repr. on p. 47., with incorrect accession number.
  • Gerd Woll, Edvard Munch: Complete Paintings, Thames & Hudson (London, 2009), vol. 1, no. 233, repr., p. 1659
  • Giulia Bartrum, Munch and his World: Graphic Arts and the Avant-garde in Paris and Berlin, Trustees of the British Museum (London, 2022), repr. as fig. 87 on p. 73

Exhibition History

  • Ausstellung Edvard Munch, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, 06/18/1922 - 08/02/1922
  • Edvard Munch, Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo, 06/08/1927 - 07/27/1927
  • Master Paintings from the Fogg Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/13/1977 - 08/31/1977
  • Edvard Munch: Symbols and Images, National Gallery of Art, 11/11/1978 - 02/19/1979
  • 19th- and 20th-Century Paintings and Sculpture from the Museum's Collection, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Cambridge, 06/11/1980 - 08/31/1980
  • Works from the 20th Century Collection of the Busch-Reisinger, Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 09/23/1980 - 10/24/1980
  • Deutsche Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts aus dem Busch-Reisinger Museum, Stadtische Galerie im Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, 10/23/1982 - 01/16/1983; Bauhaus-Archiv, Berlin 30, 02/10/1983 - 04/17/1983; Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, 05/08/1983 - 06/26/1983
  • Visions Urbaines, Centre National d'Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris Cedex 04, 02/09/1994 - 05/09/1994; Centre de Cultura Contemporania, Barcelona, 06/21/1994 - 10/09/1994; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Tokyo, 06/24/1996 - 09/16/1996
  • Modern Art at Harvard, Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, 07/31/1999 - 09/26/1999; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Kagawa, 10/09/1999 - 11/14/1999; Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya, 12/02/1999 - 12/27/1999; Oita City Museum, Oita, 01/06/2000 - 02/06/2000; Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Ibaraki, 02/11/2000 - 03/26/2000
  • Telling Time, National Gallery, London, 10/18/2000 - 01/14/2001
  • Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety & Myth, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 02/15/2009 - 04/26/2009
  • 32Q: 2700 Impressionism, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 07/14/2017
  • 32Q: 3620 University Study Gallery, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/23/2019 - 05/13/2019; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/20/2024 - 05/05/2024

Verification Level

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at