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Edvard Munch

Art Essay / Artists  / 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.

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.

After the Scream: The Late Paintings of Edvard Munch

Edward Munch lived for another half-century after painting "The Scream," his Symbolic masterwork, which is perhaps the most widely recognized piece of fin-de-siecle European art. Before 1893, Munch had been a restless artist, embracing and then rejecting many of the modernist currents of the day. After 1893, he settled into a distinctive style that rejected most of the innovative Modernism of the early 20th century. With his use of bold brushstrokes, vivid color, and vibrant imagery. Munch produced a powerful oeuvre reflective both of his inner turmoil and his keen appreciation of natural forces. It is unfortunate that the exhibition that generated this volume-the first major exhibition of Munch's work in the U.S. in 25 years, and the first ever to focus on this late period-was limited only to...

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