In Paris he was liberated from naturalism by the work of Henri Rousseau and Maurice Denis, and later in London he learnt from the landscapes of J. How could he reconcile a love of the symbolism of Arnold Böcklin with the explosive abstraction of Wassily Kandinsky?
Astrup often paints the same landscape under different skies, and is a master of depicting many types of rain: a palette of greys casts a heavy drizzle over (before 1911) uses thick white highlights and a heightened perspective to suggest the brightness of sun after a storm.
As a student of Harriet Backer in Oslo and Christian Krohg in Paris, Astrup was primed to become part of the neo-romantic naturalist school which emerged in the wake of the Norwegian romantic painter Johan Christian Dahl.
Nature is characterised as a mysterious force, full of magical potential.
Yet Astrup’s works reveal something more unusual than trees that turn into trolls.
Created by applying coloured oil paint to each individual woodblock and finished by brush, a series such as . The fact that Munch owned three of Astrup’s monochrome woodcuts suggests that he wasn’t quite attuned to how his fellow artist used colour to suggest subtle variations in mood.
Most of the works on display were coaxed from private collections, and the curators have chosen not to include the most cherished mythological pieces displayed in Norway’s national museums.
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The Norwegian artist Nikolai Astrup (1880–1928) liked making lists.
Isn’t it a bit like demanding we eat fermented fish at a dinner party, at which some tastes don’t translate?