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Edvard Munch

Edvard_Munch

Edvard Munch (1863–1944)

Norwegian painter, born in Löten. The misfortunes and miseries that surrounded him as he grew up seem to have embittered his attitude to life and left him with a feeling of the malignancy of fate.

Having been much influenced in Paris by the work of van Gogh and Gauguin, and by the ideas of Ibsen and Strindberg he held an exhibition in Berlin (1892) which caused an immediate scandal but paved the way for the German Expressionist movement.

His most famous work, The Scream (Skrik, in Norwegian), full of angst, dates from 1893. He painted sets for Ibsen and Strindberg. In later work he depicted emotional states by colour and form alone thus the ‘Threat’ in the picture of that name is conveyed by the black treetops.

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From 1899 to 1908 he worked mainly in Paris, thereafter mainly in Norway. A nervous breakdown (1908) was followed by a happier period during which he painted murals at Oslo University (1909–15) and found solace in the serene Norwegian landscape. He did much, too, to revitalise the woodcut and other graphic arts.

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