Edvard Munch was a 19th century painter and printmaker from Norway. While Munch is best known for his iconic image, The Scream 1893, he created thousands of paintings and drawings, and tens of thousands of prints. His aesthetic is said to have inspired German Expressionism.
The Kiss, 1895. Etching, drypoint, aquatint. The Munch Museum copyright.
Munch was born in the small Norwegian village of Løten, but soon moved to Oslo with his family. His childhood was plagued with tragedy, including the death of his mother, poverty and his own frail health conditions. These incidents likely contributed to the dark imagery and symbolism in his prints and paintings.
Toward the Forest I. 1897. Woodcut on vellum. Munch Museum copyright
Vampire II. 1895. Lithograph. Munch Musuem copyright.
The Kiss IV. 1902. Woodcut print. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Munch Museum copyright.
Munch started his studies in engineering before deciding to become an artist. Munch trained at the Royal School of Art and Design of Christiana (in current day Oslo), eventually earning a scholarship to study in Paris. In Paris, Munch met a number of leading artists, such as Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec. By 1896, Munch started developing his print portfolio making lithographs, etchings and woodcut prints. Many of the melancholy images in Munch’s paintings are repeated in his woodcuts and lithographs.
The Scream, 1895. Lithograph on tan card. Munch Museum copyright.
During World War II, the Nazi’s confiscated the bulk of Munch’s work. The works were later recovered and the Munch Museum was opened in Norway to honor the great artist’s accomplishments.
The museum owns the bulk of Munch’s estate, though his paintings, prints and drawings are in major art collections around the world.