"When seen as a whole, art derives from a person's desire to communicate himself to another."


Munch, Edvard (1863-1944) was a gifted Norwegian Symbolist painter and printmaker whose intense, evocative treatment of psychological and emotional themes was a major influence on the development of German Expressionism in the early 20th century. His work often included the symbolic portrayal of such themes as misery, sickness, and death. "The Cry", probably his most familiar painting, is regarded as an icon of existential anguish.

  Munch was born in a rustic farmhouse in the village of Ådalsbruk in Løten, Norway. He grew up in Christiania (now Oslo) and studied art under Christian Krohg, a Norwegian naturalistic painter. Munch's parents, a brother, and a sister died while he was still young, which probably explains the bleakness and pessimism of much of his work. Paintings such as "The Sick Child" (1886), "Vampire" (1893-94), and "Ashes" (1894) show his preoccupation with the darker aspects of life.

Munch traveled to Paris in 1885, and his work began to show the influence of French painters. First, the impressionists (some early works are reminiscent of Manet) and then the postimpressionists, as well as art nouveau design. Like many young artists Munch reacted against conventional behavior, and in 1892 he took part in a controversial exhibit in Berlin. His circle of friends included several writers, one of whom was the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Munch designed the sets for several of Ibsen's plays.

Between 1892 and 1908, Munch spent much of his time in Paris and Berlin, where he became known for his etchings, lithographs, and woodcuts. After 1910, Munch returned to Norway, where he lived and painted until his death. In his later paintings Munch showed more interest in nature, and his work became more colorful and less pessimistic. Munch died in Ekely, near Oslo, on January 23, 1944. He left many of his works to the city of Oslo, which built a museum in his honor.


"The Cry (one of several versions of the painting)" (1893) Casein/waxed crayon and tempera on cardboard, 91 x 73.5 cm - 35 7/8 x 29 in. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway.

"Ashes" (1894) Oil on canvas, 120.5 x 141 cm - 47.4 x 55.5 in. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway.

"Self portrait: Between Clock and Bed" (1940-42) Oil on canvas, 149.5 x 120.5 cm - 58.9 x 47.4 in. Munch Museum, Oslo, Norway.

"The Sick Child (fourth version)" (1907) Oil on canvas, 137 × 139 cm - 54 × 55 in. Tate, London, UK.

"Death in the Sickroom" (1895) Oil on canvas, 150 x 167.6 cm - 59 x 66 in. The National Gallery, Oslo, Norway.

"Portrait of August Strindberg" (1892)

Text source: 'Webmuseum' (www.ibiblio.org/wm).

Related Artists:

Related Terms: Symbolism, Expressionism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Art Nouveau, Etching, Lithography.


share this page (aged 13 or over only)


About Colorland, Site Policy & Important Notices. Colorland Network©Gabriel Picart. All rights reserved.