Edvard Munch Biography | Oil Paintings

1212-1863 Adalsbruk, NOR - 1-23-1944 Oslo, NOR

Munch, Edvard

Edvard Munch, the artist who depicted the anguished scream of human solitude, exposing the illusory nature of positive optimism, trained at the Oslo School of Design. His early works throbbed with a desire to plumb the innermost depths of the human soul and his style was influenced by his various trips to France, Germany, and Italy. During his time in Paris, he came under the influence of Paul Gauguin and had immense sympathy for Vincent Van Gogh due to his bouts of mental illness from which both suffered. This would have a profound effect on the development of Edvard Munch as an artist and explains the extraordinary passion that pervades his work. Thus, despite living and working in Norway, Munch was not at all isolated as an artist. He was in contact with the most exciting painters of his time and had a keen interest in the development of psychoanalysis.

Edvard Munch, Life, Love, Death and Crazy.

Inspired by the plays of fellow Norwegian Henrik Ibsen, Edvard Munch entered a period of strained intensity in the last decade of the nineteenth century, delving into the drama of the psyche and expressing an acute, tortured inner sensitivity in his paintings. Life, love, and death are the themes that Edvard Munch endlessly explored in his paintings, rendered in an Expressionist symbolic style. This painting Moonlight is a poetic, though deliberately anti-romantic, interpretation of a successful theme. The moon on the cold Norwegian Sea illuminates a motionless scene, framed almost like a theater stage by the slim, black trunks of the trees. The solid impression of the moon's reflection on the still waters is quite unusual. Many aspects of his work can be interpreted as reflecting his psychological distress. Vampire 1894 is representative of Munch's growing neurosis. In this disturbing scene (comparable to the equally powerful works of Egon Schiele), Munch openly reveals his problems in love relationships. The present merges with the past in an agonizing nostalgia that anticipates Scandinavian theater and cinema, like Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries.

Immediately after finishing The Scream, one of the most frequently reproduced and universally recognized paintings in the entire history of art, Munch began his ambitious Frieze of Life, a sequence of connected panels intended to form a great allegory, a kind of popular ballad of life from birth to death. Though the project was never finished, the completed panels, conserved in Oslo, can nonetheless be fully appreciated by themselves. The Dance of Life belongs to being part of the series called the Frieze of Life. The three major themes of the Frieze of Life, love, anxiety, and death are clearly expressed in The Dance of Life.

Munch's style, which combined closed, continuous, undulating designs with vivid, unnatural, exaggerated colors had a profound impact on the development of German Expressionism and emphasize the angst that lies behind his paintings. In addition to painting, Munch also produced a vast quantity of graphic works, etchings, lithographs, and woodcut engravings some of which were created as illustrations for contemporary poetry and which influenced the German artists of the movement known as Die Brucke.

Although Munch's most famous work is his harsh, lonely, and desperate The Scream, his more serene paintings are no less interesting. Four Girls On a Bridge, painted in 1905 during the brief northern summer, whose crystal clear light enhances the brilliant colors, is represented with scenes of transience. This brief moment of pause contemplates the fleeting quality of summer, beauty, youth, and the fullness of life. Later that year, he suffered a nervous breakdown from which it took him three years to recover. He began painting again, but his work never completely regained its expressive power.

The Scream is the Most Reproduced Painting in the History of Art.

This famous work The Scream has been interpreted to represent the transition from the nineteenth to the twentieth century in the wake of explorations into the depth of the psyche. This is a powerful painting, for which it is difficult to identify precedents, except perhaps in the influence of Van Gogh and the Symbolists. Munch uses a continuous, undulating line that envelops everything in a suffocating grasp from which there is no escape. The scene is set on a bridge, while the strange sunset creates a dramatic, anguished, one might even say deafening atmosphere in a violent burst of colors. Munch said " The sun was setting and the clouds were tinged blood red. I heard a scream that pierced through nature." The figure of the man screaming and covering his ears is reduced to a larva, a highly simplified suggestion of a body with humanoid features. This tense work was painted well before the synthetic, harsh style of German Expressionism.

The figure in “The Scream,” is not actually screaming.

The figure in Edvard Munch’s iconic artwork is not screaming, as is widely assumed, instead, it is reacting to a scream.

Munch made clear what was going on in an inscription on a rarely-seen black-and-white version of the image, which Munch annotated with the words “I felt the great scream throughout nature.” Munch very deliberately included the caption on this version to describe how his inspiration came from the anxiety he suddenly felt as he walked along a path in Oslo, a place you can still visit today. According to the British Museum which features the black-and-white lithograph, this shows that the figure is hearing the scream rather than making it. Munch’s most famous artwork depicts a person hearing a ‘scream’ and not, as many people continue to assume and debate, a person screaming.

There are four versions of The Scream, a pastel and an oil painting from 1893, another pastel from 1895, and one more oil painting done in 1910. In May 2012, The Scream sold for US$119.9 million and is the second most expensive artwork ever sold at an open auction. In 2018 his oil painting Sommernatt (Summer Night) sold at auction in New York for over US$11,000,000.

Art Movement History: Symbolism, Expressionism.
Artists Influencing Edvard Munch: Julius Middelthun, Christian Krohg, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Frits Thaulow.
He Traveled To France, Germany, Italy.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist.

Look at our THEN & NOW photo section. See, the present-day location that inspired the famous artist Edvard Munch. We travel the world to find the exact location where the artist set up his easel to paint. We photograph it as it appears today. Now, you can compare side-by-side photos of the original oil painting and the present-day location.

Edvard Munch Hand-Painted Oil Painting Reproductions.

Edvard Munch Museum Art Replicas on Canvas.

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