The Wadsworth Atheneum will present for the first time an exhibition of 19th century Norwegian paintings, showcasing works of the seminal Scandinavian artists Johan Christian Dahl, Thomas Fearnley, and Peder Balke. Sublime North: Romantic Painters Discover Norway will explore their awe-inspiring talents as landscape painters, trail their careers across Europe and compare their works with other contemporaneous European and American artists.
Although lesser-known today, Norwegian artists contributed greatly to the genre of landscape painting during the 19th century. Dahl set out to discover his remote homeland, and together with his pupils he infused the Nordic fjords, mountains and rivers with the established repertoire of romantic motifs—rocky inlets, misty hills and contemplating wanderers. His pupil Balke produced highly dramatic seascapes that foreshadow, with their radically simplified style, the abstraction of Modern art. These artists experimented with open-air oil studies, finished views and imaginary landscapes, thereby producing some of the most original and brilliant interpretations of the rough but poetic Nordic nature.
The exhibition will also shed new light on and complement the Wadsworth Atheneum’s celebrated collection of landscape paintings, creating a dialogue with works of well-known artists such as Thomas Cole, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and William Turner, and highlighting the dynamic development in landscape painting during the 19th century.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.