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Christie's - London - The 10th Anniversary Irish Sale - May 2006

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Nordic Landscape Painting discusses the progress of landscape painting by Nordic artists during the nineteenth century and just ventures into the beginning of the twentieth century. The Nordic is defined as the Scandinavian countries: Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark.

While it is entitled Nordic Landscape Painting, it is perhaps is more correctly Nordic landscape painting artists. Some of these artists of course travelled in Europe, painting on their travels, so not all the work is necessarily of Nordic landscapes.

The comprehensive and extensive text discusses the advancement of landscape painting in Scandinavia, it does so by taking each country in turn it as it moves chronologically through each phase of development, and in turn considers the artists individually. It takes into account the influences brought to bear and makes reference to developments elsewhere in Europe. It is an almost entirely objective and well researched appraisal, the subjective view being supplied primarily by quotations from contemporary critics. It concludes with some extensive notes and a selected bibliography.

It is well illustrated, some of the paintings are accompanied by the artist’s preliminary sketch or painting, and occasionally by a photograph of the actual scene, but this less so as we move forward in time as the artist of course produced the finished work directly. Attractively and sensibly laid out, with the pictures on the same page or very close to the page on which they are discussed

Within its nearly 300 pages it contains 217 colour illustrations and 57 black and white pictures, all beautifully reproduced. A few of these are presented full page, and while some are relatively small many up to half page or more.

It tends to concentrate on the social/political aspect of the painting as opposed to artistic expression, and makes little if any reference to painting technique. While there are one or two close-ups of detail of some paintings (and I would have liked a few more), no indication is given of the scale of the close up; this makes it difficult to truly assess the painters approach. However the is no questioning the dramatic power of some of the images, there is some stunning work here; all in all it is a worthy publication. ( )
  presto | Apr 24, 2012 |
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