The Women on the Bridge was constructed in 1902, after a year after several paintings of the same topic. He would revisit this every year up to 1905 and then again in 1927. The scene pictured here is now to be found at the Bergen Art Museum (Bergen Billedgalleri). The switch to an older generation allows the artist to include more elaborate clothing, and also to add some detail to it. Nearest us is a tall brown-haired woman, still fairly young herself, and she appears to be posing or walking towards us. Her blue dress reaches down to her toes with a striped pattern visible. Her hair is tidy and her general demeanor is of elegance but also happiness. The remaining women are equally well dressed but their faces are turned away from us as they look further down stream. Two of the other paintings in this extended series were Girls on the Bridge and Girls on a Bridge, both of which we have covered in order to allow you to compare their subtle differences.
Munch was one of a number of exceptional portrait artists in Europe at around this time. In Austria you will find Gustav Klimt, an artist whose style was related, but also different in some ways. He also liked to use the beauty of the female body with his paintings, as shown with the likes of The Kiss, Judith with the Head of Holoferne and also Emilie Floege. Both Klimt and Munch would use expressive techniques, but the latter tended to use much less detail and concentrate more on creating an atmosphere within his work. Both are now considered amongst the most famous artists in history, and left behind two huge collections of work across a variety of different artistic disciplines. Munch himself found certain models that he would use again and again but in the case of the painting before us here, The Women on the Bridge, he would only have worried about the lady standing closest, as the others have their heads turned away.
Munch's work has become as popular today as ever before. Many will appreciate the classical dressing of this period, as well as the opportunity to see a different nation's history, with most famous art capturing scenes of France or Italy, for example. Additionally, his expressive style and bright colour palettes remains contemporary and will draw in many through social media who perhaps spot his work for the first time through that medium, or instead may have been aware of his more famous paintings for many years and then develop a desire to look more deeply into his career oeuvre for the first time. Either way, exhibitions of his work will surely remain frequent for generations to come, for those unable to visit the Munch Museum in Oslo.