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Edvard Munch

Born: Løten, Hedmark, 12 December 1863
Died: Oslo, 3 January 1944
Nationality: Norwegian
Background: 

impoverished fundamentalist Christian family - father a doctor, mother and sister died of tuberculosis (1868, 1877 respectively)

Studies: 

Drawing Academy, Christiania (1881); with Christian Krohg; at Frits Thaulow’s Open Air Academy in Modum

 

Career: 

1880s – affiliated with anti-bourgeois cultural circle, Christiania Bohème, led by Hans Jaeger

1886 – The Sick Child is exhibited at Christiania Fall Exhibition

1889 – one-man exhibition at Christiania student association; awarded government scholarship to study drawing with Léon Bonnat in Paris

1892 – moves to Berlin; government closes his exhibition, organized by Association of Berlin Artists after one week; the Free Association of Berlin Artists organizes Munch show in protest; associates with Julius Meier-Graefe, editor of Pan, August Strindberg and Stanislaw Przybyszewski

1895 – Meier-Graefe publishes portfolio of Munch’s drypoint prints

1896 – begins producing color lithographs and woodcuts

1899-1900 – stay at sanatorium of Kornhaug, Gudbrandsdalen

1902 – exhibits cycle of paintings Love or The Frieze of Life  at Berlin Secession

1908 – enters Dr Daniel Jacobsen’s sanatorium, Copenhagen

1909 – publication of lithograph series Alpha and Omega ; wins commission for wall paintings in University of Christiana aula

1912 – paintings presented as precursor to Expressionism at Sonderbund of Düsseldorf exhibition in Cologne

1915 – publication of print portfolio The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

1920s – member of the art academies of Prussia and Bavaria

Travels

Paris (1889-92); Berlin (1892-1907)

Collectors

Eberhard von Bodenhausen; Wather Rathenau; Harry Count Kessler; Max Reinhardt

 

Web Resources

Munch Museum, Oslo

 

Maite van Dijk summaries the assessment of Munch by French critics in the 1890s: 

“A recurring eleent among French critics on Munch is the specific interest in his technique. Munch experimented with an abundant variety of paints and pigments and with the application of his materials. He sprayed and splashed the paint on the canvas, scraped and scratched the paint layers, and exposed his works to extreme weather conditions, even placing them outside in the snow. Many critics had difficulties with Munch’s process. Camille Mauclair spoke about ‘paintings with no drawing and barbaric colors, with such daunting heaviness and dissonance…which we call a lack of talent in proper French.’ Even critics who endorsed his art were brought to their wit’s end by his experimental techniques and brushwork. Yvanhoé Rambosson objected Munch’s approach to painting a ‘too direct method, too material.’ Remarkably, even though Rambosson stated that Munch had developed a highly personal style full of temperament, he did not appreciate the artists’s technique. He found his use of color and line ‘physically unpleasant.’” 

Maite van Dijk, “International Artists at the Salon des Indépendents in Paris: The Case of Edvard Munch (1896 and 1897), Foreign Artists and Communities in Modern Paris, 1870-1914. Strangers in Paradise, edited by Karen L. Carter and Susan Waller (Surrey, UK-Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2015), 47.