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80 years since the death of Norwegian artist, Edvard Munch

Authored by Alice Broome
Published on 23rd January, 2024 2 min read

80 Years Since the Death of Norwegian Artist, Edvard Munch

Today (23/01/2024) marks 80 years since the death of Norwegian artist, Edvard Munch.

Best known for his painting The Scream, Munch was a prolific artist who studied under Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. After his death on 23 January 1944, at the age of 80, the authorities discovered 1,008 paintings, 4,443 drawings, and 15,391 prints in his house. There were also woodcuts, etchings, lithographs, copperplates, and photographs.[1] 

Munch spent his life plagued by bad mental health. This stemmed primarily from his childhood, which was characterised by chronic illness, poverty, and bereavement. His father, Christian Munch, likewise suffered from depression and was prone to spells of anger. It is believed that Munch suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder and that he endeavoured to use his artwork to express his experience of the world.

The Scream was completed in 1893 and is recognised as an “icon of modern art”.[2] Munch created multiple versions of the artwork, including two paintings, two pastel drawings, and one lithograph stone. Munch used The Scream to communicate his fears of modernity. Hence, the figure in the piece is seen as symbolising the anxiety associated with the human condition. 

Munch left behind an important legacy, one which continues to influence the creative industries. The Scream has served as inspiration for countless novels, artworks, movies, and TV programmes. For example, the iconic expression of Kevin McCallister in the 1990 film Home Alone was inspired by The Scream. So was the iconic ghost mask worn in the Scream horror movie franchise. In May 2012, The Scream sold for $119.9 million, making it the second most expensive artwork ever sold at an open auction.[3] The largest collection of Munch’s artwork is housed at the MUNCH art museum in Bjørvika, Oslo, Norway. Currently, it holds 28,000 pieces of Munch’s art.

[1] Arthur Lubow, “Edvard Munch: Beyond The Scream”, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2006,

[2] Ibid.

[3] Jonathan Jones, “Why Francis Bacon deserves to beat The Scream's record-breaking pricetag”, The Guardian, 12 November 2013,

Authored by Alice Broome

Alice Broome

Alice Broome is an Editorial Assistant at British Online Archives. She is a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics graduate from the University of York.

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The British Online Archives Notable Days diary is a platform intended to mark key dates and events throughout the year. The posts draw attention to historical events and figures, as well as recurring cultural traditions and international awareness days, in both religious and secular contexts.

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