Edvard could not attend school through much of the winters, because he was consistantly ill. To occupy his time while sick, he drew sketches, but still became withdrawn. Adding to his physical ills was the fact that his father obsessed about religion to the point of psychosis, which affected the children's behavior. Edvard, later in life, went so far as to say that he inherited the seeds of madness from his father.
In 1880, Munch studied art and became involved with painters, and writers, of what at the time was called the Bohemian circle. He even studied, though briefly at a Parisian art school. His father's death in 1889 added to his mental instability, and led to paintings like, "Night in St. Cloud", ( 1890 ), in which Edvard showed renewed interest in spirituality.
In 1892, Edvard was invited to Berlin to exhibit his paintings there. His paintings caused such a scandal, known as, "The Munch Affair", that his exhibit was quickly closed. However, Edvard was able to use the publicity, and notoriety, to sell more paintings, and therefore stayed in Germany. It was here that he worked on his most famous paintings that he later called his , " Frieze of Life". These works included his most famous work " The Scream ", which, if I remember correctly, was featured in the movie Ferris Beuller's Day Off, when the kids go to the art museum in Chicago. To reach more people,and of course make more money, in 1894, he began to make prints from his paintings.
In 1908, Munch had a nervous breakdown, and entered a sanitarium in Copenhagen to regain his health, and mental well being. He went back to Norway in 1909, and began to paint landscapes, and depictions of the working man. During the years that marked the First World War, his paintings began to reflect a new pessimism of life in general, brought on by the mass killings on the battlefields of Europe. In 1918 Munch almost died of the Spanish Flu, and by 1920 his work once again began to show his mental anguish.
During the Second World War the Nazi's labeled his work as ," degenerate art ", along with the works of many other famous painters, and Hitler had 82 of his paintings removed from German museums ! 71 of these were purchased, and brought back to Norway, but eleven of his paintings were never seen again. During the Nazi occupation Edvard Munch lived in constant fear that the Nazis would confiscate his life's work.
His last years saw him having to deal with partial blindness, ( reminds me of Beethoven dealing with deafness at the end of his life ), and he died in Ekely, just outside of Oslo, on January, 23, 1944. The Nazis gave him a lavish funeral with all their usual pomp and circumstance, which gave some the impression that Edvard Munch was a Nazi sympathizer. Edvard, however, had no love for the Nazis, or their puppet leader Quisling in particular, at all.
In 1963 the Munch Museum was opened at Toyen, in Norway. According to their sources the museum holds 1,100 of his paintings, 4,500 drawings, and 18,000 prints. That my friends is a testament to a very busy and productive life ! Despite having to overcome his inner demons he was able to produce some of Norway's finest expressionist art throughout what was a very long career. He is a proud addittion to our Scandinavian / Germanic Cultural History, and I hope that he is now at peace, and no longer haunted by the inner demons that plagued him in life.
Some of my favorites of his :
The Scream ( 1893 )
The Murderer ( 1910 )
By the Deathbed ( 1895 )
Self Potrait With a Skeleton Arm ( 1895 )
The Sick Child ( 1885 )
Girls on a Jetty ( 1901 )
Cypress in Moonlight ( 1892 )
Night in St. Cloud ( 1890 )
Next : Tommorrow I will do something that I have never done before. I will tell you about a Kindred who's website is well worth visiting. I guess there is a first for everything !
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja' s love, and Thor's protection !