Munch was born in 1863, into poverty, the son of a lowly and fanatically religious military doctor. His mother died when he was five, and his beloved older sister, Sophie, when he was thirteen. Another sister became psychotic. A kind aunt helped with his upbringing and encouraged his studies in art.
“The Scream”—which was done in oil, pastel, casein, and crayon—but the artist’s calmer, even elegant, 1895 copy of it, in pastels. (This picture became briefly the costliest art work ever sold at auction, four years ago, when it fetched nearly a hundred and twenty million dollars at Sotheby’s, in New York.)