December 12 ~  Work of Art Munch: In His Own Words

"A work of art comes only from inside a human being." ~ Edvard Munch, Frieze of Life


Expressionism artist Edvard Munch (1863-1944) was born on this day near Oslo, Norway and created one of the best known paintings in the world, The Scream (1893), a symbol of honest horror and angst against an unforgettable swirling red sky.

"I sensed a scream passing through nature," he explained. "I painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked."

His art reflected the pain he suffered as a child, Munch lost his mother, brother, and sister to tuberculosis. "I was born dying," he recalled. "Sickness, insanity, and death were dark angels standing guard at my cradle and they followed me throughout my life."

At 21, he traveled to Paris to further pursue his passion for art and painted The Sick Child (1885-1886) while grieving his sister's death. "The camera cannot compete with the brush and the palette so long as it cannot be used in heaven or hell," he once said.

Influenced by Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh, Munch used color to capture his sorrow and described himself as "a poem of life, love and death" who created "soul paintings" and called his paintings "his children," saying, "I have nobody else."

In 1894, the Norwegian artist created his first etchings and lithographs. Seemingly inspired by the creative powers of the wood block contours, his innovative jigsawed woodcuts helped revive graphic art as he explored the media.

"Art," he observed, "is the antithesis of nature."

In later years following a nervous breakdown, Munch concentrated on creating canvases and murals of "perpetual forces of life." With a lighter, brighter palette and love for landscapes, his introspective paintings became more optimistic. In 1940, he bequeathed all works of art in his possession--thousands of paintings, drawings, and prints--to the city of Oslo.

More Art & Artists Quotations

You live on in what you create.