15 February 2013 - Edvard Munch 150 anniversary

Last year's sale of The Scream at Sotheby's in New York for $119.9 million reminded us yet again that Edvard Munch is one of the world's most famous Norwegians.

NK 1837
NK 1838
NK 1839
NK 1840
NK 1841

This year is the 150th anniversary of his birth. In 1880 he was accepted by the Royal School of Art and Design in Kristiania (Oslo). In 1885 he visited Paris where he gathered inspiration from the Salon de Paris and the Louvre. The following year he
exhibited Studie, later to become famous as The Sick Child. After winning a state scholarship in 1889, he returned to Paris where he painted impressionist motifs, strongly influenced by the work of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin.

In 1892 Munch organised a one-man exhibition of his work in Kristiania. The exhibition was moved to Berlin at the invitation of the Berlin Artists’ Union, but the grandees of the Union found the paintings unacceptable and demanded that the exhibition be closed. However, it stayed open to the public long enough to become known as the “scandal exhibition” and in Europe the event was dubbed “The Munch Affair”. This gave Munch an international name.

The following year he painted a series of paintings on love, among them Vampire, Madonna and The Scream. Then followed years of restless life on the Continent; his finances were poor and uncertain, and he was given to excessive drinking and boorish behaviour. Finally he suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to a private clinic in Copenhagen where he received effective treatment. While he was in the clinic, he painted and organised exhibitions in Denmark, Finland and Norway. Then practically overnight he became a popular investment object.

In 1910 Munch purchased a property at Hvitsten by the Oslo Fjord. He had now been engaged to decorate the University Aula. At Hvitsten he found inspiration for Alma Mater, while he painted the central motifs for The Sun and History in Kragerø. The Aula decorations were completed in 1916, the same year as he acquired the Ekely property at Skøyen on the outskirts of Oslo. Here he found a whole new world of motifs and here he painted at all hours of the day and night. He won more and more international recognition and a major exhibition of his work was held in the National Gallery in Oslo in 1927. During the 1930s Munch lived a quiet, secluded life at Ekely. To the end of his life he continued to paint self-portraits. Self Portrait between Clock and Bed (1940- 43) was his final masterpiece. He died in 1944 and is buried in the Honorary Cemetery at Vår Frelsers Gravlund in Oslo.

NK: 1837-1841
Date of issue: 15 February 2013
Values and subjects:
Kr 13.00: Detail from Self-portrait in front of the Wall (1926, The Munch Museum)
Kr 15.00: Detail from The Sick Child  (1896, The Munch Museum)
Kr 17.00: Detail from Madonna (1895, The Munch Museum)
Kr 20.00: Detail from The Scream  (1893, The National Museum)
Kr 20.00 (miniature sheet): The Sun (1911, The Oslo University Aula)
Design: Enzo Finger Design
Method of printing: Offset
Printing house: Joh. Enschedé Security Print