Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sympathy and Range

Technical matters aside, a measure of the greatness of a painter of people is the ability to convey humanity in all its forms.

In this painting of the interior of a tavern, Norwegian-Danish painter Peder Severin Krøyer (1851-1909) portrays a couple of groups of hard-working men, probably fishermen from the village of Skagen.


Krøyer brings his compassionate focus to a man who sits alone with his pipe and his bottle of drink. The man has a ruddy face, a heavy brow, a bent ear, a protruding lower lip, and a broken nose.

From the same hand comes this painting of the Benzon daughters of 1897. They are the essence of freshness and innocence, smiling shyly, bathed in the warmth of summer light and air.

This sympathy for the full range of the human condition is as welcome in a painter as it is in a great writer, like Dickens or Shakespeare.
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Wikipedia on Kroyer: link.
Tavern painting is in the Philadelphia Museum.
Earlier GJ post about Kroyer's "Hip, Hip, Hurra!", link.

11 comments:

Erik Bongers said...

It's a skill but also a commercial consideration in case of a commissoned portrait.

jeff f said...

Thanks for the info, another great Scandinavian painter who deserves a wider audience.

In case anyone wants another link the ARC has a lot of his work on line:

http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/database/art.asp?aid=2194

What strikes me is how many Scandinavian painters are so good and so underrated. Peder Monsted comes to mind, and he is one of the top 10 landscape painters in the history of art in my view.

Anders Zorn, while he is a great artist is one of the few most know about.

Frank P. Ordaz said...

Jim,

I am attracted to tavern scenes. It reminds me of times I get together with friends and talk about Art over a Stout one.

The silhoeutting (sp?) of the backgroup is effectve.

However, the sisters portrait leaves me cold. Why? It seems as though it was a paid job and he just painted on the fumes of his skill. ( I've done it at times as an illustrator ).

I guess that's why men like Sargent and Kromskoy are special. They turned, what could have been cliched , in to art.

jeff f said...

I think the other thing about the the sisters portrait is that it is approaching kitsch and to many it would be.

Look at the ARC collection, he was a very good painter and he gives Zorn a run for his money.

No one touches Peder Monsted in my opinion, the more I look at his work and this from reproductions, as there are none in any museums in this country that I can think of, the more I am convinced he is one of the best landscape painters out there. He's Danish as well.

cegebe said...

In Denmark, Krøyer is probably one of the best known local painters, and reproductions of his work are everywhere.

Mønsted, on the other hand, is virtually unknown in his own country. I don't remember where I first read about him, but it was on some US-based web site, and there is hardly any works of his on display in the Danish museums.

jeff f said...

That's a shame he's an amazing painter.

Check his work out at the ARC:

http://www.artrenewal.org/asp/database/art.asp?aid=736

stephen erik schirle said...

fantastic paintings, wow.

oats said...

Thanks, James for talking about this. I would LOVE to hear you pontificate some more about these 'intangibles.'

I have been talking a lot about this concept in a series of video painting tutorials that I have been doing on my own site.

I think this is what a lot of younger illustrators miss out on.

Its amazing when you see someone who has had no art education at all but they have this inherent sympathy in their approach.

That is something that is really hard to teach BUT I DO think it can be learned. Thanks again for this amazing blog.

Maybe you can use your blog posts as the building blocks of your own art book. Sort of your own version of Richard Schmid's book... Ever thought of that? Maybe you could do a print-on-demand book. That would be super-easy and DANG, would we (your fans) dig it! (Trying to come up with a paleontological joke with which to end this post...)

Charley Parker said...

Wonderful couple of posts, and some new names to check out. Thanks!

I would add Norwegian painter Frits Thaulow to the list.

julienned said...

I'm so glad to see this post. I discovered this painter last year in a wonderful book about Scandinavian painters. And, coincidentally, say this painting in Philadelphia a few weeks later.

In addition to his sense of humanity, he has a marvelous ability with color, especially the warm/cool relationships.

Tom Wharton said...

I'm so glad to see this post. I discovered this painter last year in a wonderful book about Scandinavian painters. And, coincidentally, say this painting in Philadelphia a few weeks later.

In addition to his sense of humanity, he has a marvelous ability with color, especially the warm/cool relationships.