Artist: Munch, Edvard
Dates: 1863 - 1944
Edvard Munch – (December 12, 1863 – January 23, 1944). Born in Losten, Norway. Munch grew up in Oslo along with his three sisters and brother. Edvard is related to one of the finest artist of the time. His relations included Jacob Munch, well-known painter of the day and Peter Munch, a historian. Edvard was a printmaker as well as a painter and is considered an important artist of the expressionistic art, if not the frontrunner of the day. Most of his paintings reflected his unlucky life with love. Some of the common themes throughout his art include fear, death and the sadness he felt through his life.
His father raised Edvard and his siblings after his mother died of tuberculosis in 1868. Sadly, the disease would claim another of the Munch family; his older and favorite sister Sophie died of tuberculosis in 1877, which he never got over her death. His father was left to raise Edvard along with his three remaining siblings. One of his younger sisters was diagnosed with a mental illness. Christian instilled the fear of hell and no redemption in the remaining children in hopes of giving them the fear of sin. Edvard father died in 1889 and left Edvard to care for his younger siblings.
In 1879, Edvard begin his studies in Engineering but quickly turned towards the art and started studying at the Royal School of Art and Design in Kristiana to become a painter. Most of his teachers taught the impressionist style that did not suit Edvard at all. He preferred to show the emotional content of his internal turmoil rather than paint landscapes and fruit bowls. Most of his paintings and many of the well – known ones show the tense atmosphere that he created to his style.
As Munch maturity so did his taste in art. He frequently went from several different styles of impression, naturalist and then back to expressive. In 1892, the Union of Berlin Artists invited him to an exhibition. Unfortunately, his art created a lot of controversy and the exhibit closed after one week. During this maturity his most famous painting was done in 1893, The Scream. Also during this time around the turn of the century Munch started to experiment with several different medias that was newly available at the time. Photography, lithography and using woodcuts were among his newfound favorites. Most of his success in Germany can be contributed to Walter Rathenau who loved Munch’s art.
The change of tides in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s disagreed with Mr. Rathenau who was now foreign minister for Germany. The National Socialist removed all of his artwork from Germany calling it degenerate art. Deeply hurt by this, Edvard became deeply depressed and went to a hospital. After returning to Norway, the hospital had changed him in some way. For the rest of his career he painted natural and used oddly only bright cheery colors.
Later in life, Edvard bought a small home outside of Oslo to continue painting. He died quietly in that home just a month before his 80th birthday. Through his life he created a 1,000 paintings, 15,400 prints, 4,500 drawings and watercolors and six sculptures which were all left to the city of Oslo, Norway. The city built a museum in honor of all of his art. The museum houses a lot of his work but some his more famous pieces travel to different museums through the world. He is also the first Western Artist to have his art displaced in Beijing China after the Cultural Revolution.
[Written by Brandy Johnson; bmjohns3 [@] uncc.edu ]