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Edvard Munch: Biography

   Edvard Munch was born on December 12, 1863 and is known as a Norwegian master expressionist painted and printmaker.  He was born in Adalsbruk, Norway and grew up in Kristiana (modern Oslo).  His favorite sister and mother both died of tuberculosis when he was very young and his father instilled in the remaining children the fear of sinning- if they sinned, he insisted his children would go to Hell.  In 1881 he enrolled at the Royal School of Art and Design of Kristiania and though he was influenced by the postimpressionists his subject matter is symbolist depicting a state of mind rather than an external reality.
   In 1889 he painted a portrait of the leader of the Kristiana bohemians, Hans Jaeger.  Jaeger was involved with a circle of radical anarchists, which greatly influenced Munch’s artistic plan for himself.  The radical anarchists instilled in Munch the idea of self and the importance of truly expressing the “self.”  Munch wanted to keep with Jaeger’s ideas and set out to present real close-ups of the modern individual’s desires and pain.  He realized his own struggle between the two and decided to paint his own life.
   He believed that he was not an impressionist since he was interested portraying emotional state of mind instead of a random slice of reality.  His most famous work The Scream was painted in 1893.  He used a minimal backdrop for his frontal figures to emphasize the frontal figures’ emotional state.  The Union of Berlin Artists in 1892 hosted a show of his work, but it created such controversy it closed within a week.  At the turn of the century he began experimenting with new media (photography, lithography and woodcuts).  In the fall of 1908 his anxiety became delicate and he entered Dr. Daniel Jacobsen’s clinic.  His therapy changed his personality and he became more colorful and less pessimistic approach to his art.  The National Socialists labeled his work as “degenerate art” and removed his work from German museums and this hurt his feelings very much.  He died on January 23, 1944 in his self-built studio at Ekley estate leaving behind 1,000 paintings, 15,400 prints, 4,500 drawings and watercolors and six sculptures to the city of Oslo.


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