Born in Löten, Norway in 1863, painter and printmaker, Edvard Munch was a major influence on the development of German Expressionism in the early 20th Century. Munch grew up in Christiana, (now Oslo) and he studied art under Norwegian naturalistic painter, Christian Krohg. He also studied the old Masters and attended courses in the painting of nudes at the Royal School of Drawings. The bleakness and pessimism of much of Munch’s work may be attributed to the deaths of his mother, brother and sister while he was still quite young.
In 1885 Munch traveled to Paris and his work began to show the influence of the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist French painters, as well as Art Nouveau design. Munch participated in a controversial exhibition in Berlin in 1892. His contemporaries included several writers, including the Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. Munch designed many of the sets for some of Ibsen’s plays as well as the program posters for two of Ibsen’s productions at the Théâtre de L’Oeuvre. He was also commissioned to illustrate Baudelair’s “Les Fleurs du Mal”, but the work got no further than the initial phase.
Munch spent much of his time in Paris and Berlin from 1892 to 1908. He began devoting more of his attention to the graphic medium, at the expense of his painting. He started producing exceptional color lithographs and his first woodcuts, which were made in collaboration with the famous printer, Auguste Clot.
In 1910 Munch returned to Norway where he lived until his death in 1944. He willed a large collection of his pictures and uncatalogued biographical and literary notes to the city of Oslo, which built, The Munch Museum, dedicated in 1963, in his honor.