Edvard Munch is one of the most important pioneers of Expressionism in Europe. In 1863 he was born in Løten (Hedmark), Norway, the son of the doctor Dr Christian Munch and his wife Laura Catherine, née Bjølstad. In 1864 the family moves to Christiania (Oslo). In 1868 his mother dies of tuberculosis, and in 1877 his sister Sophie falls victim to the disease at the age of 15.
In 1879 Munch began to study architecture, which he abandoned in 1880 in order to transfer to the drawing school in Christiania in 1881. In 1883 he participated in an exhibition for the first time, in 1885 he received his first scholarship and travelled to Paris. In 1889 Munch held his first solo exhibition and rented a house in Åsgårdstrand. Munch receives a second state scholarship and undertakes further trips abroad. In 1892 he accepts an invitation to Berlin. The opening of his exhibition in the "Architektenhaus" turns into a scandal. The controversy surrounding its closure led to the founding of the "Berlin Secession".
Munch travelled extensively throughout Europe and exhibited his works in Germany, France and Norway. In 1898 he met and fell in love with Tulla Larsen. In 1902 this relationship came to a dramatic end; in a quarrel with her Munch lost a phalanx of his left hand. In the same year he met Dr. Max Linde in Lübeck, and in 1903 Gustav Schiefler in Hamburg. Schiefler became a friend and patron and later compiled Munch's first catalogue raisonné. Until 1906 Munch travelled extensively and repeatedly exhibited his works. In 1906 he made Max Reinhardt's acquaintance and was commissioned to design the foyer of the Deutsches Theater Berlin and Reinhardt's stage set for Ibsen's "Ghosts".
In May 1907 Munch came to Warnemünde and lived there until October 1908, after which he spent a long time in Dr. Daniel Jacobson's mental hospital in Copenhagen. From 1909 until the end of his life, Munch lived in Norway. He first settled in Kragerø and took part in the competition to decorate the new auditorium of Oslo University.
Between 1912 and 1915 Munch travelled extensively. In 1916 he bought a house in Ekely near Christiania, which became the artist's last residence and studio. In 1923 he is appointed a member of the Prussian Academy of Arts and in 1925 an honorary member of the Bavarian Academy of Arts. In 1926 his sister Laura dies.
In 1937 the National Socialists confiscate 82 of his works in Germany as "degenerate art". In 1944 Edvard Munch dies at the age of 81. He bequeathed his entire oeuvre to the city of Oslo, which has made it accessible to the public in the Munch Museum since 1963.