Munch, Edvard


Born: Ă…dalsbruk (Oslo), 1863
Died: Kristiania, 1944

Munch, Edvard (1863-1944)

Edvard Munch was born on December 12, 1863 in Loton, Norway. He was the son of an Army Medical Corps doctor, Christian Munch. His mother had the name of Laura Catherine. Edvard was the second of five children. In 1864, his family moved to the city of Oslo. This is where he originated his art training. His mother died of tuberculosis in 1868. His aunt, Karen Bjolstad, took over the household. Then, to his despair, his sister Sophie died of tuberculosis , at the age of fifteen, in 1877.

In the early 1800's, Munch became influenced by two older comrades, Christian Krohg and Frits Thaulow. They were into the Norwegian art scene, they had painting based on French naturalism. In 1879, he penetrated a Technical College in November. A year later he became more serious with his work and left the Technical College. The next year, in 1881, he entered a school of design. The first class he took dealt with freehand, then he decided that he would take the modeling class. Munch rented a studio with six other artists, in 1882. Their work was supervised by Christian Krohg. In May of 1885, a scholarship from Frits Thaulow, had Munch travel to Paris. Munch stayed there for three weeks, then he spent the summer at Borre and returned to Oslo to begin three of his major works. That is the time when his work began to be widely known. Sometime in 1886, he fabricated the painting The Sick Child. In the painting the thoughts of the tragic death of his sister were let out and they were rather haunting. In the same year, Munch had finished his series of several versions of The Sick Child. He was then identified with the controversial group called Christiania-Boheme, after a novel by the anarchist Hans Jaegar.

Munch's father died in 1886, in November. This was another catastrophe that Munch was forced to live through. From 1889 to 1892, state scholarships enabled him to live mainly in France. He had formed a habit of returning to Norway ever summer.

Munch had a way of French Impressionist Technique. That was basically what his new paintings were all about. In Paris, the explored a way of painting while his intentions focused of replacing them with an art symbolizing his formidable emotions. In 1890, Munch went to France, but in November, he had to be hospitalized, because he had Rheumatic Fever for two months. During that time, five or his paintings were destroyed by a fire in Oslo. Munch had a series of paintings (there were six of them total), that were exhibited in the major art show in Berlin, in 1892. The series was titled, The Frieze of Life, and the six paintings caused such a shock that the authorities ordered the show to be terminated. Munch had so much feelings, passions, anguish, stress, sorrow, and pain in his paintings people did not understand. Those people were afraid of the truth. They said that his images were terrifying and threatening. The truth to that story, is that Munch had pain that he needed to let out and express. When he lost his family to death, it hurt him mentally. He had to let out his feelings somehow. The people that attended the art show saw more than art, they saw one mans feelings. That is the best form of art. That is how Munchs paintings played a big part of the modern German expressionism. Munch was even in an expressionism group, called "Der Blaue Reiter." (The Blue Rider). He was also in a group called Dresden.

In 1895, yet another disaster, Munchs brother Andreas died. He had way too many deaths to deal with, for being just one man. Over the years, Munch did lots of traveling. He mainly kept to Oslo, Norway, Germany, Aasgaardstrand, and Paris. In 1902, he had come to an end in an unfortunate love affair. He also had lost the joint of a finger on his left hand, from a gunshot wound. Munch also met a man named Dr. Max Linde, and he purchased the painting Fertility, and then wrote a book about him. Munch, in the same year, had the privilege to exhibit twenty-two works from the Frieze of Life collection. That was a busy year for him.

The year of 1904, was a very important year for his paintings and prints. Munch made important contracts with dealers, Bruno Casirer from Berlin, and Commeter in Hamburg. This was for his rights to sale of his work in Germany. 1905, had a slight effect on two of the paintings that he had produced. It is said that he had a violent quarrel with his friend Ludvig Karsten. This is believed to have an effect on the paintings The Fight and The Uninvited Guest.

In 1908, Munch had an anxiety attack and was hospitalized. He had a nervous breakdown. That was said to have been brought on by heavy drinking and depression. He did recover after he had an electroshock treatment. That is when his art went under and extreme change. That is the time when he lost the deep feelings in his artwork and became more imagery, which showed nature. In 1909, Munch had an important exhibition. The show consisted of one hundred oils and two hundred graphics. He had painted landscapes and life size male portraits. 1915, was an impressive year for Munch. He went to his third American show. It was held in San Francisco, and he was awarded a gold medal for his graphics. He also was then successful enough to give financial aid to young German artists. In the year 1917, a book was published in Berlin. This book was titled Edvard Munch. Over the years Munch had traveled a lot. He had spread his art throughout the world. He had many exhibitions in several areas. Another dear tragedy. Munchs sister Laura, died in 1926. Munchs most comprehensive show was held at the National Galerie, in Berlin. In this who he had included 223 oil paintings. In 1930, a terrible thing happened. Munch had afflicted eye trouble. This recurs for the rest of his life. In 1931, Munch is left to deal with another death. His aunt Karen Bjolstad had died. 1937, eighty-two of his works in the German museums were branded as "degenerate" and they were confiscated and sold. From 1940-1944 Munch quieted down. He continued to paint and make prints. On January 23, 1944, a little more than a month after his eightieth birthday, he died peacefully at Ekely. He bequeathed all of his work to the city of Oslo. He had 1,008 paintings, 15,391 prints, 4,443 drawings and watercolors, and six sculptures. In 1963, a museum was opened to show all of his great work. The museum is called, The Munch-Museet.

In conclusion, Munch had extremely powerful paintings. The way that he expressed himself through his artwork is what gave him the best qualities in an Artist. The pain that he had to deal with was terrible, but he put it to good use.