Monday, February 23, 2009

Nordic Landscape Painters

Yesterday, in the comments about P.S. Krøyer, blog readers Jeff Freedner and C.Gertz Bech, brought up the names of some other great Nordic painters, including Anders Zorn and Peder Mønsted (GJ post on Mønsted here).

I didn't want to let the moment pass without mentioning a few other Nordic landscape painters who captured the sublime qualities of the northern wilderness. They are not well enough known outside their own region.

Hans Gude Wiki

Eilif Peterssen Wiki Commons

Eero Järnefelt Wiki

Alfred Wahlberg ARC

An exhibition of Nordic Painting just ended, unfortunately, but there is a catalog.

There's another book on Nordic Landscape Painting available at Amazon.


Unknown said...

I always find this work thrilling, no matter how many times I see it.
As an interesting art historical aside, Canadian art was heavily influenced by this work. The Group of Seven attended a show in New York of Nordic landscapes and that caused the Canadian artists (Like J.E.H. Williams and Lauren Harris) to see the value in basing a national art on landscapes.

Erik Bongers said...

I recognize a bit of Andrew Wyeth in yesterday's tavern painting and in Eilif Peterssen's and Eero Järnefelt's paintings.

As I said before, there's something going on when you approach the arctic circle and it happens across continents.

Jesse Hamm said...

Lovely work.

Here's my favorite Swedish landscape artist:

Sparse, expertly balanced compositions. Very Scandinavian.

tim b said...

I found myself a year or so ago walking through the National Gallery in Oslo, agog at the brilliance of a whole group of artists there I'd never heard of: J.C. Dahl, Thomas Fearnley, Hans Gude (whom you mention), Adolph Tidemand... wall after wall of work before which Bierstadt and Church would have dropped to their knees in worshipful admiration.

The museum's marketing is all about Munch, but this work is worth the trip to Oslo all by itself. I just dumb-lucked into it.

Jesse Hamm said...

It's sad how many masters were bricked out behind the wall of Modern Art at the dawn of the 20th Century. I wish I saw these guys' work in every print shop at the mall, instead of this all the time.

Another great from Sweden was John F. Carlson, who emigrated to America as a kid. Gorgeous landscapes.

And "Sweden's Rockwell," Carl Larsson -- thankfully he's well loved, at least in Sweden.

James Gurney said...

Thanks, Jesse, I didn't realize John F. Carlson was Swedish. I recommend his book as one of the best instructional books on landscape painting. I'm a huge fan of Carl Larsson, too.

Tim, those names are all new to me. Hope to make it to Oslo someday!

Eric, thanks for the Canadian perspective--I'll try to do more posts on great overlooked painters.

tim b said...

"It's sad how many masters were bricked out behind the wall of Modern Art at the dawn of the 20th Century."

I think there's a renovation in progress that's rethinking the placement of that wall... a lot of artists who grew up isolated from the mainstream of modernism connected with art through comics, animation and book illustration. They're open to a wider range of art than their professional predecessors as a result, which I think is all to the good.

I love the crazy-skill old stuff, but I love Miro and Klee, too... which is crazy-skill in a whole different way. I think one of the advantages of our historical moment is that we're actually free to claim both streams, admire generally and use whatever we want in our own work.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for introducing to yet another bunch of fantastic Scandinavian painters that I've never heard about so far.

Carl Larsson is great. There was a time where reproductions of his work was found in almost any home around here (including the one where I grew up). The kind of pictures so familiar to me that it took me a while to realize what a master draughtsman he really was.

David Still said...

What about Finnish painters Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Albert Edelfelt! My proud ancestors, at least artistically...



Andrew said...

This is why I enjoy stopping by this blog, just to get introduced to new artists and marvel at unseen works.

right-click...and save.

Unknown said...


Thanks again for turning us on to new ( old ) artists. Wow!

I just ordered the catalogue. A deal at $10!

The Minneapolis Museum has a flash presentation of more art from these masters. Great to see these sensitive renditions.

James Gurney said...

David, thanks for those other names and samples. They took my breath away, especially the one by Gallen-Kallela of the meltwater in winter. Sorry to overlook these guys; I just never heard of them.

Frank, I appreciate the tip about the Minneapolis catalog. I ordered one, too!

Anonymous said...

Gallen-Kallela is an all-time favourite of mine.

In Denmark, towards the end of the 19th century, there was a certain tradition for depictions of life among the poorer classes, painted with honest sympathy. Krøyer's fishermen in the post before this one is one example; another one, which I have spent much time looking at, is Edvard Petersen's painting of emigrants waiting to embark the steamer that will take them to America, probably never to return:,%20Edvard%2057.jpg

A really heart-wrenching example is the painting "Thrown out" by Erik Henningsen, showing a family, who apparently couldn't pay their rent:

Henningsen's most famous work, however, strikes a lighter note - it is a commercial poster he painted for the beer company Tuborg, showing a fellow who could really use a cold beer ...:

enb said...

really great leads- thanks.

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting cegebe...these are inspiring!!!!

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

Maybe you've all seen the book of sketches of Gallen-Kallela, but if not, I posted a bunch of those on My Delineated Life blog a couple weeks ago. You'll find him on the side list of subjects. I love his sketches of winter trees.

Thanks James for the great posts.

Thomas Haller Buchanan said...

That is to say the Pictorial Arts blog, sorry.

Michael said...

"$10" for the exhibition catalogue?

How did you manage that?

I have tracked this down internationally as every online store in all languages sends you to other books in their store inventory when clicking on the "Buy The Catalogue" button. None actually link to this catalog for sale with one exception, The Finnish National Gallery Ateneum Shop, and it is 39 Euros or $50 US not including shipping.

Michael said...

James or Frank,

Would you mind posting an address or link to this Flash presentation and catalogue for $10?

Thank you

James Gurney said...

Michael, it's hard to find the catalog on the museum's store website. Here's the link to the store page

If that doesn't work, go to the museum at and then go to the "shop" page and put "nordic" or "a mirror of nature" in the search box. The catalog is $10, but shipping is $9.95. It's still a deal for a 300 page catalog.

Michael said...

This may be something different than the "catalog" you linked to in the original post. That catalog has the same title but a different cover. It is the one that has a button "Buy The Catalogue" that just sends you to the bookstore where the book is not listed. When I called they said the book has not been sold through them for years since it sold out. I will wait to see this one before tracking down the other. At $10 I doubt they are the same. Used it is $128.00+

Björn said...

... And you missed Zorn ;)

James Gurney said...

Regarding the "$10 catalog", Whitney Maack of the Minneapolis Institute of Art Gift shop let me know: "Many people who place this order are not aware that this is a poster, not a book. We no longer sell the Nordic Landscape catalogue, as we sold out shortly after the exhibition closed.

If you are interested in purchasing the catalogue, you will have to contact Ingebretsen's Scandinavian Gift Shop here in Minneapolis, as they are the only ones to still carry the book."

James Gurney said...

Here's the link for the catalog at the Scandinavian giftshop: