Edvard Munch

Much more than The Scream

Edvard Munch was born in Loton, Norway on December 12, 1863. His father was a medical officer and obsessive Piet. Edvard’s mother died of tuberculosis, when Munch was three years old, as did his favorite sister, nine years later. Most winters of his early years, Munch suffered from frequent illness, his interest in art began at this time.

As a young man of sixteen, munch studied engineering for a year before becoming more serious about his art. He was mentored by Norwegian artist Christian Krohg in art, and friend Hans Jaegar, in nihilism.

In 1885 he received a scholarship from Frits Thaulow in Paris. Much found the class studies boring, but enjoyed his professor’s tutorials during museum tours. He returned to Oslo and painted “The Sick Child” in lamentation of the death of his sister Sophie. He was associated with his friend Jaegar’s group of bohemians, which displeased his dogmatic father who died in 1886.

Munch returned to Paris in 1890 where he studied the artists he admired, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. He liked the way they used color to convey emotions. At this time he studied the Post-Impressionist style, and embrace some its values, such as synthetism. These synthesized features; the outward appearance of natural forms, the artist’s feelings about their subject and the purity of the aesthetic considerations of line, color and form, explain the development of Munch as an artist.

In 1892 Munch had a major exhibit in Berlin entitled “The Frieze of Life.” One of the paintings from this series, “The Sick Child” subject was the death of his sister Sophie, a theme which he repeated. Hitler and the Nazi’s called Munch’s work “Degenerate” and confiscated and sold over 80 pieces. Munch lived in Paris, Berlin and Norway. He suffered many losses and from a wide range of illness. He had a serious depression and electroshock therapy.

Munch had some critical and financial success in his later years. Surprising Munch lived to the age of 80. His remaining collection was left to the city of Oslo.


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