During 1891 and 1892 Munch stayed for periods in Niece in the south of France. He was a regular visitor at the casino in Monte Carlo. At times this was almost an obsession, something he treats in his literary notes.
Munch painted several paintings that from his memories from the roulette, where he conveys the nervous atmosphere at the game table, where loss or winning can have fatal consequences. At the same time he is experimenting with the stylistic forms of synthethism from Degas, Gaugagin and van Gogh.
In the Painting ”By the Roulette” of 1892 we can see how Munch has caught the tension and drama around the roulette. Dressed up men and woman are crowded around the table, with hands stretched out and with all their concentration on the game.
To the left is a man with similar facial forms as Munch, taking notes of the roulett´s outcome. There is a diagonal from there across the green table to the red roulette. This compositional scheme, also found in pictures by Degas and Gaugagin, creates drama and movement in the painting.
The drama is emphasised by the colours, both by black versus white and by the red green contrast. The forms are held collected in areas of clean colours, typical for the synthethism. Eyes, noses and mouths are only suggested in the red and green faces.