Interesting Facts about Edvard Munch
Who was Edvard Munch?
Edvard Munch was a Norwegian painter and printmaker whose profoundly vivid presentation of psychological subjects drew on some of the basic concepts of late-nineteenth-century Symbolism and impacted German Expressionism in the early twentieth century.
The Scream, or The Cry, is a symbol of modern spiritual sorrow in his painting. Munch was a leader in the uprising against 19th-century academic painting's naturalistic demands, and he moved beyond the naturalism still present in Impressionism. His focus on the basics of emotion occasionally resulted in radical form simplifications and an expressive rather than descriptive use of color.
Edvard Munch Facts
His family suffered from a variety of ailments.
Edvard Munch was born on December 12, 1863, in Lten, Norway, the second of five children. Although his father Christian was a doctor, the Munch family had a lot of sorrow due to his father's illness. "I inherited two of mankind's most awful adversaries - the heritage of consumption and insanity," Munch famously commented of his family's ill health.
Even though the painter's father was a doctor, his family experienced sorrow due to illness. Munch's mother and sister died of a disease when he was young, and his other sister was subsequently committed to a hospital for mental illness.
Against his father's wishes, he enrolled in art school.
Edvard, then 16 years old, joined a technical institution in 1879. He learned perspective drawing while studying engineering. But, due to recurrent spells of illness and his desire to create art, he had to withdraw from his classes.
When Munch's father learned of his plans to become a painter, he became enraged and called it an "unholy trade." Undaunted, Edvard enrolled in the Royal School of Art and Design in Oslo (then known as Kristiania), which was founded by one of his distant relatives, painter Jacob Munch.
Munch's first significant work was about his late sister.
The Sick Child is regarded as Munch's pioneering break from Impressionism, painted when he was out of training and creating his style. It was the first of six pieces of the same name he made over 40 years, described by the artist as a "soul picture." Each Sick Child depicts a scene in which his dear sister appears to be saying to their grieving Aunt Karen just before she dies.
Though the sensitive subject of the painting enraged the Oslo community at first, Patricia Donahue, a 20th-century art critic, praised the picture. "It's almost as if the child, knowing there's nothing else she can do," she said, "is soothing a person who has reached the limit of her endurance."
His dad was a tyrant and his inspiration.
Christian Munch was left to raise his children alone after his wife died, and he dedicated himself to educating them in history and literature, entertaining them with lively readings from Edgar Allan Poe's horror stories.
Christian, on the other hand, would strike out angrily if the kids misbehaved. He believed that their deceased mother was embarrassed of them from heaven.
He relocated to Paris to pursue his career.
In 1889, Edvard Munch moved to Paris, where he began to develop his technique under the inspiration of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gaugin's use of color to portray emotion.
The "Frieze of Life" series.
The artwork was part of his "Frieze of Life" series, which explores topics such as illness, death, fear, love, and sorrow.
He was influenced by his own life. "The Scream" is a psychological thriller.
The Scream, the artist's most famous painting, is the result of anxiety and horror he had when out strolling and seeing the sky turn blood red. The agonized expression on the face of the figure in the artwork perfectly portrays his agitated feelings.
He became a pescatarian in the end.
Munch quit eating meat in his later years. He did, however, continue to consume fish, thus a pescatarian label might be appropriate. "As a member of the vegetarian cult, I say: Convert from Cannibalism!" Munch says in a letter to his friend Jens Thiis, possibly written in 1932–33. "Uncles, aunts, and tiny cousins with sparkly eyes should not be eaten. Instead, eat things like lamb, lily, Lily of the Valley, and grass. Cognac, Burgundy wines, and champagne are the blood of the vine, thus you're already half vegetarian."
There are multiple "Screams".
"The Scream" is available in four different versions: two pastels and two paintings. In 2012, one of the pastels sold for more than $100 million, making it the fourth highest nominal amount paid at auction for an artwork.
Publicity and fortune did not always bring him happiness.
Munch did enjoy his success for a time after decades of sadness, self-doubt, and rejection. However, drinking and mental health difficulties led to a downhill spiral.
He checked himself into a sanitarium in 1908 because he could hear voices. "My condition was bordering on madness—it was touch and go," he subsequently remembered. He felt recovered and checked out by the spring of 1909, eager to get back to work. The public had warmed up to his psychologically-based work by then.
He created caricatures of his adversaries.
Munch fought and slandered members of his prior circle of acquaintances, including painter Christian Krohg and authors Gunnar Heiberg and Sigurd Bdtker, and was irritated by numerous art critics, particularly those of the daily Aftenposten.
Munch wrote letters and notebooks about his frustrations with people, as well as caricatures of his enemies. Heiberg and Bdtker, who were linked with the Kristiania Bohemia circle, which Munch visited in his youth, were immortalized as a type of human swine and an emaciated Poodle in the company of a toad in a drawing from around 1908.
His recuperation had a profound impact on his art.
Munch's optimism was restored after treatment, leading to his use of a lighter palette in his paintings. He created "The Sun," "Spring Ploughing," and "Bathing Man" using a lot of negative space for the first time, and he now gleefully titles his works as well.
The Nazis saw his work as "degenerate".
Munch was frightened that the Nazis would enter his home and destroy his stored paintings—and so his legacy—when the Germans invaded Norway in 1940. Although this never happened, the Nazis hosted Munch's burial in 1944.
It was considered at the time as a propaganda ploy to rebrand the artist they'd labeled "degenerate" as a Nazi sympathizer once he couldn't renounce them. "For all we care, those prehistoric Stone Age culture barbarians and art-stutterers can return to their forefathers' caves and apply their primitive international scratching there," Hitler declared. Picasso, Paul Klee, Matisse, and Munch's hero, Gauguin, were among the painters tarred with this brush.
His work has an impact on popular culture.
Munch passed away in 1944 in Norway, yet his impact lives on in popular culture. In the 1980s, Andy Warhol, the maestro of pop art, published silk prints of Munch's work, Wes Craven injected the iconic face of "The Scream" into his 1996 film of the same name, and the writers of Dr. Who copied the figure in a 2011 episode of the show. Munch-inspired prints by Andy Warhol, 1984
Although Munch did not live to see WWII, his fame did.
A month after his 80th birthday, the artist died at home. Munch's legacy lives on, despite Hitler's efforts. The works he was so concerned about were not confiscated by Nazis after his death but instead given to the city of Oslo. Munch's artworks are now on display in museums all around the world.
His works were influential in the development of the German Expressionist movement. His homeland recognized him by featuring his image on a 1000 kroner banknote. And The Scream went on to become Munch's most well-known work, as well as one of the most well-known paintings in history.