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Travel Tip: Art and Archaeology in Sweden
Impressionism and the North



Christian Krohg (1852-1925) • The Painter Gerhard Munthe, 1885 • Oil on canvas, 150 x 115 • Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo • Photo courtesy of Nationalmuseum • 
Christian Krohg (1852-1925)
The Painter Gerhard Munthe, 1885
Oil on canvas, 150 x 115
Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo
Photo courtesy of Nationalmuseum
Impressionism and the North
SWEDEN
STOCKHOLM  •  Nationalmuseum  •  Ongoing
 
 
For the first time, an exhibition shows the relationship between French Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and art in the Nordic countries. There are many links between (mainly French) Impressionism and artists in the Nordic region. The exhibition shows paintings done by Paul Gauguin during his time in Copenhagen in the mid-1800s. In that same period, Danish artist Theodor Philipsen was painting landscapes using a technique obviously inspired by Gauguin’s. Claude Monet spent the winter of 1895 in Norway painting winter landscapes and making the acquaintance of Norwegian painter Fritz Thaulow and Sweden’s ‘painter prince’, Prince Eugen. Monet studied the Nordic winter light and produced several series of paintings showing snowy landscapes in changing light and weather. The exhibition has a number of these works. At the time, the Norwegian Christian Krogh used a technique approximating the sketchiness of Impressionism but the most consistently Impressionistic painter in that period was his countryman Edvard Munch.

In Sweden, several artists in the 1880s were to approach Impressionism from different angles, even if most of them adhered to French Realism. The landscapes of Karl Nordström and Nils Kreuger, painted in sketch style and using bright colours, would occasionally resemble the Impressionist manner. Closest was perhaps Anders Zorn; in a series of paintings from around 1890, he captured fleeting impressions of contemporary life using broad and sketchy brushwork. At that time, Swedish painters Richard Bergh and Karl Nordström found inspiration in Gauguin’s later idiom. In Finland, Neo-Impressionist, or pointillist, painting played a comparatively important role. This was largely a result of the arrival in Finland at the end of the 1890s of the Belgian-English Neo-Impressionist, Alfred William Finch, who subsequently settled there. Influenced by the painting of George Seurat, Finch began to paint landscapes in the pointillist manner at the end of the 1880s. The canvas was covered by small dots of bright colours, which, viewed from a distance, seemed to float together to form a haze of subtleties. Finch was important for the spread in Finland of Neo-Impressionism’s theory of colour, and around 1910, these ideas made a significant breakthrough in Finnish painting, which came to be characterised by strong colours and pointillist technique.

Nationalmuseum Web Site


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