Edvard Munch Locations
Edvard Munch (pronounced , December 12, 1863 ?C January 23, 1944) was a Norwegian Symbolist painter, printmaker, and an important forerunner of expressionistic art. His best-known composition, The Scream is one of the pieces in a series titled The Frieze of Life, in which Munch explored the themes of life, love, fear, death, and melancholy.
Edvard Munch was born in a rustic farmhouse in the village of Adalsbruk in Loten, Norway to Christian Munch, the son of a prominent priest. Christian was a doctor and medical officer, who married Laura Cathrine Bjølstad, a woman half his age, in 1861. Edvard had an older sister, Johanne Sophie (born 1862), and three younger siblings: Peter Andreas (born 1865), Laura Cathrine (born 1867), and Inger Marie (born 1868). Both Sophie and Edvard appear to have gotten their art talent from their mother. Edvard Munch was related to painter Jacob Munch (1776?C1839) and historian Peter Andreas Munch (1810?C1863).
The family moved to Kristiania (now Oslo) in 1864 when Christian Munch was appointed medical officer at Akershus Fortress. Edvard??s mother died of tuberculosis in 1868, as did Munch's favorite sister Johanne Sophie in 1877. After their mother's death, the Munch siblings were raised by their father and by their aunt Karen. Often ill for much of the winters and kept out of school, Edvard would draw to keep himself occupied. He also received tutoring from his school mates and his aunt. Christian Munch also instructed his son in history and literature, and entertained the children with vivid ghost stories and tales of Edgar Allan Poe.
Christian??s positive behavior toward his children, however, was overshadowed by his morbid pietism. Munch wrote, ??My father was temperamentally nervous and obsessively religious??to the point of psychoneurosis. From him I inherited the seeds of madness. The angles of fear, sorrow, and death stood by my side since the day I was born.?? Christian reprimanded his children by telling them that their mother was looking down from heaven and grieving over their misbehavior. The oppressive religious milieu, plus Edvard??s poor health and the vivid ghost stories, helped inspire macabre visions and nightmares in Edvard, who felt death constantly advancing on him. One of Munch's younger sisters was diagnosed with mental illness at an early age. Of the five siblings only Andreas married, but he died a few months after the wedding. Munch would later write, "I inherited two of mankind's most frightful enemies??the heritage of consumption and insanity."
Christian Munch??s military pay was very low, and his attempts at developing a private side practice failed, keeping his family in perrenial poverty. They moved frequently from one sordid flat to another. Munch??s early drawings and watercolors depicted these interiors, and the individual objects such as medicine bottles and drawing implements, plus some landscapes. By his teens, art dominated Munch??s interests. At thirteen, Munch has his first exposure to other artists at the newly formed Art Association, were he admired the work of the Norwegian landscape school, and where he returned to copy the paintings, and soon he began to paint in oils.
ID: 2809 Spring 1889
National Gallery, Oslo