Choose from a selected group of artists represented in the exhibition A Mirror of Nature: Nordic Landscape Painting 1840-1910.

Edvard Munch
Løten, Hedmarken 1863 - Oslo 1944, Norwegian

Edvard Munch is Norway's best-known artist, and he had a profound influence, also outside Norway. He made his mark with his doom-ridden, simplified motifs of the 1890s, and was seen as a pioneer in the development of modern art. With these works Edvard Munch contributed to the emergence of Expressionism and Symbolism.

His talent was discovered while he was still young, and the pulsating artistic life of Kristiania (Oslo) in the 1880s stimulated his development as an artist. Christian Krohg's painterly Realism in particular made an impact on him, while the "bohemian" artists and writers led by Hans Jæger created a new agenda for how modern life should be lived, and be exploited in art. Travel grants enabled Munch to study in Paris and become acquainted with avant-garde painting there, notably the work of Edouard Manet. Munch was highly receptive to the new trends, to the Impressionists, to Vincent van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Gauguin. With its coarse, sketchy appearance and its stress on the existential, his The Sick Child was much mocked and criticised when it was shown at the Autumn Exhibition of 1886. It was Munch's farewell to Realism. Until 1908 he led a hectic, nomadic life on the Continent. A number of exhibitions which became scandals won him increasing public notice and success. He showed works dealing with sexuality and the inner life of modern man. Puberty, Vampire, Melancholy, Madonna and The Scream: these were independent, individual works, but they were also linked in a series of pictures he called his Frieze of Life and in which he gave expression to the modern psyche.

After a nervous breakdown in 1908, Munch moved back to Norway. This ushered in his later works, which are less concerned with emotional conflict and drama. His painterly style is freer, his palette lighter. In this period he executes the large decorative commission for the great hall, the Aula, of the University in Kristiania. Among his other achievements, a number of depictions of workers and of physical activity are particularly notable, as are some remarkable landscapes and self-portraits. Edvard Munch bequeathed his entire, comprehensive collection of works to the City of Oslo, and on this basis the Munch Museum was established in Oslo.

Moonlight, Edvard Munch, 1895

Edvard Munch
Norwegian, 1863-1944
Moonlight, 1895