Edvard Munch Biography

Edvard Munch (December 12, 1863 – January 23, 1944)

Edvard Munch“My fear of life is necessary to me, as is my illness. Without anxiety and illness, I am a ship without a rudder. My art is grounded in reflections over being different from others. My sufferings are part of my self and my art. They are indistinguishable from me, and their destruction would destroy my art. I want to keep those sufferings”

– Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch was a Norwegian expressionist painter, who became an iconic painter of the Twentieth Century angst and uncertainty. He was believed to suffer from some form of bipolar disorder / manic depression and as Munch himself say, this depression influenced his paintings – perhaps best epitomised by the “Scream” – one of the most famous paintings of the Twentieth Century. His paintings built on the nineteenth century symbolism movement to incorporate his own unique expressionism.

Famous paintings of Edvard Munch


The Scream (1893) Originally called despair, it was part of a series titled ‘The Frieze of Life’, in which Much explored themes such as life, death and fear.

Munch often made several copies of the same painting. One of the Scream versions were stolen from a Munch museum in Oslo 2004, but it was recovered by Norwegian police in 2006.

This is Munch’s best-known painting and is one of the best-known images in the world. It is one of the pieces in a series titled The Frieze of Life. In the series, Munch explored the themes of life, love, fear, death and melancholy. As with many of his works, he made several versions of the painting. One version was stolen in 1996 and The Madonna was stolen from the Munch-museum in Oslo, Norway, in 2004, but in A2006 Norwegian police found it together with another picture that was stolen at the same time, Madonna.

The Frieze of Life themes come back throughout Munch’s work. These themes can be seen in paintings such as The Sick Child (1886, a portrait of his deceased sister Sophie), (1893–94), Ashes (1894), and The Bridge. The last-named shows limp figures. Those figures have faces with no features, or they have no faces at all. Threatening shapes of heavy trees and houses are above the figures. Munch portrayed women either as frail, innocent sufferers or as lurid, life-devouring vampires. Munch analysts say this reflects his sexual anxieties.

Munch died in his house at Ekely near Oslo on 23 January 1944.

“From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them, and that is eternity.”

— – Edvard Munch

Book Cover


The Scream at Amazon


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