The Kunsthalle of the Hypo Cultural Foundation is showing a magnificent survey with 125 paintings from the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) created during the transition to Modernism. Masterpieces by Edvard... Read More
The Kunsthalle of the Hypo Cultural Foundation is showing a magnificent survey with 125 paintings from the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) created during the transition to Modernism. Masterpieces by Edvard Munch, Anders Zorn, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, August Strindberg, Helene Schjerfbeck and Vilhelm Hammershøi are juxtaposed in a fascinating dialogue with works by almost 60 outstanding painters who are virtually unknown in Germany. With a diverse range of themes, the exhibition sets out to demonstrate how these artists search for and discover connections and divisions among the emerging Nordic nations that rise above their national borders.
Spurred on by curiosity, but also by the lack of opportunities for artistic instruction, or by its perceived rigidity in their home countries, many Nordic artists travel to European cities with important academies of art, like Duesseldorf or Munich, in the second half of the 19th century. Paris holds particular appeal with its highly diverse art scene. With boundless enthusiasm, the painters strike out on new paths, assimilate impulses and, in so doing, redefine their own cultural identity. By networking with other European artists and taking part in important exhibitions throughout Europe, they foster the development of a self-contained artistic form. Not only does this lead to independent Nordic variations on Realism, Impressionism and Symbolism, but the Nordic artists pass on significant impulses to their contemporaries in the south.
The German title of the exhibition "Aus Dämmerung und Licht" (Of Dawn and Light) expresses the unique moods captured by the Nordic painters in their pictures. In this, their perception of landscape obviously plays a central role. Yet, even everyday country or city life, with its underlying social issues, is imbued with this atmospheric symbolism. The title also epitomises the cultural and social upheaval taking place in the Nordic countries at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. The „Modern Breakthrough” challenges the traditional perception of aesthetics and morality and takes a critical look at the living conditions in these nations that are in a state of flux. Even the geographical borders of the Nordic countries change during this era as they gain their independence, Norway in 1905, Finland in 1917 and Iceland in 1918. The artists contribute actively to their home countries' journey towards self-discovery and social change.
The growing interest in Nordic art over the past few years has led to numerous monographic exhibitions in Europe and the USA. The Kunsthalle of the Hypo Cultural Foundation has also organized extensive retrospectives on the works of Munch, Larsson, Zorn, and most recently, Hammershøi. This legitimate interest in the outstanding artistic quality of Nordic painters now finds its culmination in this unique survey featuring works by national masters like Prince Eugen (Sweden), P.S. Krøyer (Denmark), Magnus Enckell (Finland), Christian Krohg (Norway) or Thórarinn Thorláksson (Iceland).