Edvard Munch (b. Dec. 12, 1863, Löten,
Nor. – d. Jan. 23, 1944, Ekely, near Oslo) was a Norwegian painter
and printmaker whose intense, evocative treatment of psychological
and emotional themes was a major influence on the development of German
in the early 20th century. His painting The Cry (1893)
is regarded as an icon of existential anguish.
Young Edvard grew up in Christiania (now Oslo) and
studied art under Christian Krohg, a Norwegian naturalistic painter.
Munch's parents, a brother, and a sister died while he was still young,
which probably explains the bleakness and pessimism of much of his work.
Paintings such as The Sick Child (1886), Vampire (1893–94), and
Ashes (1894) show his preoccupation with the darker aspects of life.
Munch traveled to Paris in 1885, and his work
began to show the influence of French painters — first, the
impressionists, and then the postimpressionists — as well as
art nouveau design. Like many young artists Munch reacted against
conventional behavior, and in 1892 he took part in a controversial
exhibit in Berlin. His circle of friends included several writers,
one of whom was the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Munch designed
the sets for several of Ibsen's plays.
Between 1892 and 1908, Munch spent much of his
time in Paris and Berlin, where he became known for his prints
— etchings, lithographs, and woodcuts. After 1910 Munch
returned to Norway, where he lived and painted until his death. In
his later paintings Munch showed more interest in nature, and his
work became more colorful and less pessimistic. Munch died in Ekely,
near Oslo, on January 23, 1944. He left many of his works to the city of
Oslo, which built a museum in his honor.