Visitors can get to know one of Sweden’s most pronounced dandies – who, in the constant presence of death, led a debauched life, among the aristocracy and the avant-garde artists of Paris in the early days of the 20th century, and whose unique style, “Dardelism”, gave us iconic and beloved paintings such as The Dying Dandy, Crime of Passion, and The Waterfall.
Nils Dardel (1888-1943) is not, however, a pure modernist aesthetically. His works are in conflict with the times in which he lived, a modern age that was preoccupied with keeping up with the latest fashions and did not fully appreciate an artist who never quite embraced the avant-garde. Dardel had an old-fashioned way of using stories and myths to portray an ambivalence about being both seduced and outraged by the onslaught of modernism. His style is reminiscent of a mixture of naivism and late-19th century symbolism. His private life became public in a way that nearly took over entirely, as if the “role” or “mythical figure” of Dardel stood in the way of the artist. It has been too tempting to link his pictures to his biography, basing the interpretation of his works on his life. His works are ambiguous; a seemingly banal and innocuous trait can suddenly swing into its diametrical opposite. Seriousness and irony co-exist, and many of his works have several parallel storylines. This parallelism also entails that the narratives in his works have multiple entry and exit points. This ambiguity is present equally in his person and his works. His is a dual nature that attracts and is attracted by both men and women.
Moderna Museet Website