Edvard Munch Canvas Art – The Frieze of Life

Edvard Munch is regarded by many as the original pioneer of modern expressionism. He was born in Norway on December 12th 1863 and today his art works are recognized around the world. He was an expressive and symbolic painter and printer. When the age of Expressionism arrived in Europe Munch was a significant and recognized pioneer of this new epoch. His oil paintings produced during the 1890’s have always attracted the most attention and of great inspiration to artists. Today many of these works are well known within popular culture: And contemporary artists continue to be motivated and stimulated by the meaningful and animated art works he produced.

The Frieze of Life is almost certainly one of the most significant and recognized series of Expressionist oil paintings Edvard Munch ever produced. Each painting within this series investigated the senses through Synthetism: Life and death: Fear, anxiety, melancholy and love – Themes that would consistently recur in his work for the rest of his life. Melancholy was the first painting he created in The Frieze of Life. In it Munch uses color expressively to symbolize emotion: Hence a reason why he is regarded the original pioneer of Expressionism.

“No longer should interiors be painted, people reading and women knitting: there would be living people, breathing and feeling, suffering and loving.” – Edvard Munch

In 1892 his oil paintings were part of an exhibition held by the Union of Berlin Artists. The exhibition closed promptly after just one week because his paintings caused too much controversy: So much in fact that it became known as The Munch Affair – Munch was as amused as he was intrigued by this ‘great commotion’ as he once referred to it. The book by Sue Prideaux – Edvard Munch: Behind the Scream – refers to a letter in which the artist responds to the public plethora. “Never have I had such an amusing time—it’s incredible that something as innocent as painting should have created such a stir.”

Indeed today we are no longer shocked at the sight of human expression. It is an intellect we explore freely and openly. From this point on Munch’s work became more symbolic and each character represented a single psychological state of mind: This is evident in much of Munch’s oil painting from this period – And never mor so than in the well recognized composition that has become known as ‘The Scream’.

The Scream (Skrik) was painted onto cardboard using a mixed media of tempera, oils and pastels in 1893: This is another expressionist painting from Munch’s Frieze of Life Series. The artist recreated this particular painting twice more in oils and twice in pastels between 1893 and 1910: In addition to a Lithograph produced in 1895. Today this famous painting is instantly recognized around the world and much sought after by collectors. Indeed, the originals are so highly sought after they have been stolen and recovered several times.

The Scream oil painting produced in 1893 on permanent exhibition at the National Gallery of Norway was stolen in 1994: And later recovered. In 2004 a pastel version created in 1910 was stolen from the Munch Museum. Both sustained some damage but were restored and back on display today. This agonized character standing against a deeply disturbed blood red sky has become a legend among the modern arts: As has Edvard Munch.

The art works of Edvard Munch are a legacy to the world. When he died on 23rd January 1944 the artist left all his unsold art works to the city and people of Oslo. This amounted to more than a thousand painting: As well as thousands of prints and drawings. His work is copyrighted and the Munch Museum is renowned for its furtiveness with regards to this issue: In the United States this is dealt with by the Artists Rights society just as vehemently. His art works hold universal appeal due to their incredible expression of the human state. Since his death the work of Edvard Munch has set world records in the auction houses: In 2008 his oil painting Vampire created around 1893-94 fetched more than thirty eight million dollars at Sotherby’s in New York – Making it the most expensive Munch oil painting in the world. .

From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity. -- Edvard Munch