Self-portrait at the Window, c. 1940

Edvard Munch, Self-portrait at the Window, c. 1940 © Munch-museet/ Munch-Ellingsen Gruppen/BUS 2005 Belongs to Munch-museet, Oslo


On 12 December Edvard Munch is born in Løten, in the county of Hedmark, Norway. He is the second child of Laura Cathrine Bjølstad and Dr Christian Munch.

The family moves to the Norwegian capital Christiania (1877-1925 Kristiania, now Oslo).

His mother dies of tuberculosis, after having given birth to her fifth child. Her sister, Karen Bjølstad, takes over the running of the household.

Enrols in the Royal School of Drawing, Christiania, in August.

Paints his first self-portrait. Rents a studio with six fellow artists. The painter Christian Krohg supervises their work.

Comes into contact with Christiania’s Bohemian circle – the avant-garde of naturalistic authors and painters in Norway – and its central character Hans Jæger.

Travels to Paris in May. Has an affair with Milly Thaulow.
Has four paintings accepted for the Autumn Exhibition in Christiania.

First solo exhibition in Christiania. Awarded a government grant. Travels to Paris in October, where he enrols in Léon Bonnat’s art school. Munch’s father dies in November.

Lives in St Cloud, near Paris. In September he is awarded a second government grant. Develops rheumatic fever and is hospitalised in Le Havre.

Travels to Nice. Awarded a third government grant. Summer is spent in Norway. Travels via Copenhagen to Paris in the autumn, and visits Nice.

Completes Despair, a motif he will later develop in The Scream. Returns home from Nice at the end of March. Exhibitions in Christiania and at the Society of Artists in Berlin. The exhibition is closed after one week but makes Munch a celebrity overnight. Meets August Strindberg in Berlin and paints his portrait.

In Berlin he associates with the mainly Scandinavian Bohemian literary circle, including August Strindberg, Dagny Juel and Stanislaw Przybyszewski, at the wine bar Zum schwarzen Ferkel.

Winter spent in Berlin. Paints Self-portrait with Cigarette, which is sold in October that year to the Nasjonalgalleriet in Christiania. Exhibits fourteen paintings from The Frieze of Life at an exhibition at the Ugo Baroccio gallery. Leaves Germany for Paris.

Travels to Paris in February. His circle of friends includes symbolist writers, poets, critics, musicians and artists such as Julius Meier-Graefe, August Strindberg, Sigbjørn Obstfelder and Stéphane Mallarmé.

Provides illustrations for the Munch/Strindberg issue of Quickborn. Meets Tulla Larsen in the summer in Norway.

Travels to Berlin, Paris, Nice, Florence and Rome. In the autumn and winter Munch convalesces from exhaustion at the Kornhaug Sanatorium, Faaberg, Norway.

Winter and spring spent in Berlin. Exhibits The Frieze of Life, by now consisting of 22 paintings, at the Berlin Secession. Meets his patron Dr Max Linde. Summer spent in Aasgaardstrand in Norway. In the autumn he shoots himself in the left hand during an argument with Tulla Larsen.

Berlin in January. March and April in Weimar. Drinks heavily. Paints Self-portrait with Brushes at Dr Linde’s house.

Exhibition at Cassirer’s in Berlin in January. In November he stays in a spa at Bad Elgersburg, Thüringen, Germany, trying to overcome his nervous condition and alcohol problems.

Exhibits at the Salon des Indépendants, Paris, next to the Fauve painters, in March. Attempts health cures at various spas. Paints Self-portrait with a Bottle of Wine and Friedrich Nietzsche, commissioned by Swedish banker Ernest Thiel.

Winter spent in Berlin. Summer in Warnemünde and Copenhagen in the autumn, where he suffers a breakdown. Admits himself to Dr Jacobson’s clinic. While in the clinic, he organises an exhibition at the Artists’ Union, Copenhagen.

Winter and spring at Dr Jacobson’s clinic. Exhibits in Copenhagen, Christiania and Bergen. Settles in the Skrubben estate at Kragerø, Norway.

Purchases the Nedre Ramme estate at Hvitsten on the Christiania Fjord.

Has his international break-through at the Sonderbund exhibition in Cologne.

Buys the Ekely estate outside of Christiania, where he spends most of his time up to his death. Paints Self-portrait in Bergen.

Contracts Spanish ‘flu in the winter.


Visits Berlin, Paris, Wiesbaden and Frankfurt. Paints Self-portrait in Inner Turmoil. Exhibition at Cassirer’s gallery in Berlin. Works on the series The Artist and his Model.


Paints Self-portrait. The Bohemian’s Wedding.


Retrospective exhibitions of his work held in Berlin and Oslo.


Builds a winter studio at Ekely.


In May 1930 a vein bursts in Munch’s right eye. Aunt Karen Bjølstad dies.


Eighty-two works by Munch, in various German museums, are considered degenerate and sold by the Nazis.


The Norwegian art dealer Holst Halvorsen buys fourteen of the “degenerate” works in 1938. He sells them at an auction in Oslo on 23 January 1939.


Munch refuses to have any contact with the Nazis who invade Norway. From 1940 he works on his last self-portraits.


On 23 January Munch dies in his house at Ekely. He bequeaths to the City of Oslo all of his remaining works.

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