Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863–1944) was a painter and printmaker credited as the founding father of the Expressionist movement. Born in Oslo, Munch’s childhood was plagued by a series of tragic events—the deaths of his mother and sister at a young age, and a younger sister diagnosed with mental disabilities—which would later influence the emotive nature of his work. Munch’s artistic development began at the Royal Academy of Drawing in Oslo, where he studied under Christian Krohg (Norwegian, 1852–1925). The artist’s initial work in printmaking and painting was influenced by a French Realist aesthetic. In 1885, Munch traveled to Paris, where he created one of his earliest and most celebrated works, The Sick Child (1885-1886), dedicated to his sister Sophie who died of tuberculosis at the age of 15. The piece moved away from Realist sensibilities, incorporating gritty emotion that would later typify the ideals of Expressionist art.

After his brief trip to France, Munch returned to Oslo, and later traveled once again to Paris in 1889 to study under Léon Joseph Florentin Bonnat (French, 1833–1922). At this point, the Post-Impressionist movement dominated the Parisian art scene, but Munch continued to explore Expressionism and its ability to manifest in real form the emotions of his childhood, as well as growing issues with alcoholism and failed romance. In 1892, while living in Berlin, Munch's work became famous when it was banned from the Verein Berliner Künstler exhibition, as it was considered an anarchistic provocation. Shortly following his newfound fame, Munch unveiled the most important work of his career, The Scream (1893). Considered a prime example of Expressionist art, the painting represented Munch's own neuroses, combined with fin-de-siècle anxiety felt throughout Europe. Munch's continued success after the turn of the century would cause further issues in his personal life, which would in turn influence his work. He carried out the rest of his carrier in Norway, painting landscape scenes and exploring the bounds of Expressionism. Before he passed away in 1944, the artist left his biographical notes to the city of Oslo, which created the Munch Museum in 1963. The artist's work is a part of major collections throughout the world, such as the National Gallery in Oslo, the Kunsthaus in Zurich, and the Tate Modern in London.

Timeline

1863
Born Engelhangen, Norway
1879
Enters Technical College to become an engineer
1880
Leaves College to purue painting and joins the Realist Painters
1881
Enrolls at the Royal School of Art and Design
1882
Exhibits at the Industries and Art Exhibition
1889
Attends Bonnat School of Art in Paris
1892
Invited by the Berlin Artists’ Association to exhibit in Berlin, Germany
1895
The press urges a boycott of Munch’s exhibition at Blomquist’s gallery in Christiana, Norway
1902
Exhibits the “Frieze of Life” at the Berlin Secession
1908
Entered a hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark following a nervous breakdown
1910
Participates in the Berlin Secession
1911
Wins the Oslo University Aula competition
1913
Resigns from the Berlin Secession and exhibits new versions of the “Frieze of Life” paintings at the Autumn Exhibition in Berlin with Picasso
1915
Exhibits graphic works at the Panama-Pacific International exhibition in San Francisco
1923
Becomes a member of the German Academy of Fine Art
1927
Exhibits over 223 works at his retrospective exhibitions at the National Galleries in Berlin and Oslo
1928
Designs murals for central hall, Oslo City Hall
1944
Died Ekeley, Norway
1944
Died January 23rd in Ekely, Norway

Exhibitions

2011
Sommergäste. Von Arp bis Werefkin - Die Klassische Moderne in Mecklenburg und Pommern, Staatliches Museum Schwerin, Germany
2011
Die unbekannte Sammlung - Klassiker der Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany
2006
Edvard Munch, The Modern Life of the Soul, Museum of Modern Art, NY
2004–2005
Edvard Munch, The Frieze of Life, National Gallery of Victoria