Edvard Munch's Paintings

who was edvard munch?

Over six decades, he created thousands of drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures, and photographs about life and death and love and birth. In his day, his works provoked uproar from the public and critics alike.


Munch’s artistic inclinations were encouraged by his aunt Karen who was herself an artist. He continued to draw and paint throughout the rest of his childhood.

modern scandinavian

His early work was typical of 19th-century Norwegian art, which was hitherto untouched by modernism. Norwegian painters mastered naturalistic landscapes and depictions of human subjects.

the sick child (1885 - 1886)

His sister Sophie’s death was the subject of many journal entries attempting to rekindle the details of the memory. 

munch in love

Munch began an affair with his cousin's wife, Milly. His affair with Milly shaped his relationships with women and had a profound impact on Edvard Munch’s artwork.

FRIEZE OF LIFE (1893 - 1894)

Munch’s body of paintings, The Frieze of Life, is an ambitious project that dominated his later years. What seems to be about the strength of women is hardly portrayed in a positive light.

the scream (1893)

Munch created the first version of The Scream in 1893. It was the final piece in the first iteration of The Frieze of Life. The painting features obscure, warped figures.

the dance of life (1900)

The central couple is lost in its own embrace. Their skull-like faces remind us of their inevitable demise.

graphic arts

Replication became a central part of Munch’s process and his graphic output included thousands of etchings, lithographs, drypoints, and woodcuts.


In his later years, Munch would live a life of increasing illness and isolation. By 1908, he was hearing voices, hallucinating, and was partially paralyzed on his left side.


Munch’s self-portraits improved consistently. In the months leading up to his death, he began painting Self-Portrait Between the Clock and the Bed (1940 - 1943), his final self-portrait.


In 1905, Norway finally gained independence from Sweden. Having been largely shunned through the 1890s, Munch was finally being recognized as a key figure in Norwegian culture.