1863 - 1944 · Norway
Edvard Munch was a Norwegian Artist, part of the Symbolist movement in the late 1890s, he became a prominent figure of Expressionism in the beginning of the 1900s. Munch’s Art is particularly notorious for its powerful and raw depiction of human emotions, often associated with reflections on death and the lingering angst of the meaninglessness of life, central themes in Existentialism. Mainly renowned for his paintings, his experimentations with drawing, engraving and photography also secured his prominent position in the international art sphere and made him a critically acclaimed figure of art history. Today, Munch’s work continues to embody the feelings of alienation inherent to the rapid extension and changes of the contemporary world.
Munch’s style is characteristic of Expressionism. His own tortured consciousness, and sometimes mysterious subject matters, are depicted with a tortuous brushstroke and the use of intense colours. The artist’s unique style flourished around 1892, his most famous painting, The Scream, was completed in 1893. It illustrates a cry of anguish, resonating across a landscape of powerful colours. The Scream was based on Munch’s personal experience, it became a global symbol of angst and alienation, and one of the most acclaimed paintings of all times. Munch’s art was considered rather unconventional at the time, often controversial due to the violence of the emotions depicted, and the representations of sexuality. But it is this eccentricity and innovative approach that secured his reputation as an established artist. The Frieze of Life is Munch’s most acclaimed series of paintings, revolving around the themes of love and death. The series was first exhibited in Berlin in 1902 and was composed of 22 paintings, including The Scream (1893), Vampire (1893), Madonna (1894) and The Kiss (1897), amongst others.
Edvard Munch was born in 1863 in Løten, Norway, 140km north of Oslo. He lost his mother and sister to tuberculosis and suffered himself from chronic asthmatic bronchitis, as well as a poor immune system. He joined the Royal School of Art and Design in Oslo, formerly Kristiania, in 1880; Munch lived in Berlin and Paris between 1892 and 1897 and kept moving around Europe until settling down in Norway, in 1910. In 1916, he bought the Ekely estate just outside of Oslo, and died there in 1944. Before his passing, Munch decided to leave all of his artwork to the city of Oslo, approximately 1,150 paintings, more than 4,500 watercolours and drawings, as well as sculptures, writings and photos.
More than half of Munch’s work is displayed at the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway, other museums exhibiting the artist’s work include the National Museum of Norway and the Tate Modern in London.