Artist in Focus - Edvard Munch

Edvard Munch was born in 1863 in Loten, Norway. Munch’s childhood was traumatic and the difficulties he faced in his early years were to affect his character throughout his life.

In 1881 Munch enrolled at the Royal School of Art and Design where he painted his first self-portraits. By 1884 he was already part of the bohemian world of Christiana (now Oslo).

In 1885 he travelled to Paris where he was heavily influenced by the Impressionists and Symbolists, in particular Gauguin with his simplified forms and non-naturalistic colours.

In 1892 he exhibited at the Kunstlerverein (Artists’ Union) in Berlin, where his work proved so controversial that the show had to be closed. Now famous, Munch moved to Berlin the same year where he lived on and off until 1908.

In 1908, after prolonged heavy drinking, overwork and a failed love affair, the artist suffered a mental breakdown and entered a clinic for the next eight months. After this his work changed dramatically. The intense emotions disappeared and his paintings became far more extroverted, characterised by brighter colours and a renewed vigour.

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