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Edvard Munch 1863 - 1944 Edvard Munch was a Norwegian artist whose brooding and anguished paintings and graphic works based on personal grief and obsessions were instrumental in the development of expressionism Edvard Munch grew up in Norways capital Oslo then called Christiania His father Christian Munch -- brother of the well-known historian PA Munch -- was a deeply religious military doctor earning a modest income His wife who was 20 years his junior died of tuberculosis when Edvard was only five years old and Edvards older sister Sophie died of the disease at the age of 15 Edvard himself was often ill A younger sister was diagnosed with mental illness at an early age Of the five siblings only one Andreas ever married only to die a few months after the wedding His childhood home was culturally stimulating but in his art Munch turned again and again to the memory of illness death and grief Munch began painting at the age of 17 in Christianity now Oslo A state grant awarded in 1885 enabled him to study briefly in Paris For 20 years thereafter Munch worked chiefly in Paris and Berlin At first influenced by impressionism and postimpressionism he then turned to a highly personal style and content increasingly concerned with images of illness and death In 1892 in Berlin an exhibition of his paintings so shocked the authorities that the show was closed Undeterred Munch and his sympathizers worked throughout the 1890s toward the development of German expressionist art Perhaps the best known of all Munchs work is The Scream 1893 Nasjonalgalleriet Oslo This and the harrowing The Sick Child 1881-86 Nasjonalgalleriet reflect Munchs childhood trauma Melancholy suffuses paintings such as The Bridge --in limp figures with featureless or hidden faces over which loom the threatening shapes of heavy trees and brooding houses Reflections of sexual anxieties are seen in his portrayals of women alternately represented as frail innocent sufferers
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