Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nordic Landscape

The Cloud, 1896
Prince Eugen
Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde, Stockholm

One day, as I was randomly pulling books off the library shelf, I noticed Torsten Gunnarsson's Nordic Landscape Painting in Nineteenth Century. I took it home and have been renewing and re-checking it out ever since. I think it's time for me to buy my own copy! This is my most favorite book on landscape painting. Except for Carl Larsson, I was not at all familiar with any of the Nordic painters. I am now and urge you to find examples of and learn about this remarkable body of work.

As Gunnarrson writes in his introduction, Nature was a strong force in the less populated Nordic region and even with exposure to European work, the unique influence of the Nordic landscape on the regional painters is remarkable.

I'll give you links to my favorite painters - what links there are. As a watercolorist, I've long been familiar with and fond of Carl Larsson's (Swedish, 1853-1919) work and will never grow tired of his charm and technique. But what a mind opener to see the work of J.C. Dahl (Norwegian, 1788-1857), Gustaf Rydberg (Swedish, 1835-1933, Carl Fredrik Hill (Swedish, 1849-1911), Fanny Churberg (Finnish, 1845-1892), Kitty Kielland (Norwegian, 1843-1914), Karl Nordström (Swedish, 1855-1923), Per Eckström (Danish, 1844-1935), Harald Sohlberg (Norwegian, 1869-1935), Wilhelm Hammershøi (Danish, 1864-1916), and the marvelous Prince Eugen (Swedish 1865-1947).

My greatest surprise were the paintings of August Strindberg! I immediately bought the book by Olle Granath, August Strindberg: Painter, Photographer, Writer which served as a catalogue for the 2005 Tate exhibit of Strindberg's photographs and paintings. What's no surprise is that, as a painter, writer, photographer and musician myself (Strindberg played the guitar), I felt a deep affinity for his work. Besides that, his landscape paintings are simply awesome and eons ahead of what his contemporaries were up to.

In 2007, The Minneapolis Institue of the Arts hosted a touring exhibit, A Mirror of Nature: Nordic Landscape Painting 1840-1910 providing a comprehensive online catalogue.

Another great resource is the online catalogue of Ambassador John L. Loeb, Jr. Danish Art Collection where you can find many fine examples of Danish landscapes including some by Hammershøi.

Last, but certainly not least are the sites, loaded with images, for Norwegian Women Painters: 1893 Exposition including paintings of Kitty Kielland, and Swedish Women Painters: 1893 Exposition.

Read my other posts on the history of Landscape Painting.

See my paintings at Landscape into Art.

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