This exhibition continues a theme of exhibitions of landscapes by Scandinavian artists in recent times. Previous ones have included
- Forests, Rocks, Torrents Norwegian and Swiss Landscapes from the Lunde Collection 22 June – 18 September 2011 which included paintings by Peder Balke - see my post "Forests, Rocks, Torrents" at the National Gallery, London 07 Aug 2011
- Christen Købke: Danish Master of Light 17 March – 13 June 2010 - see my review Two landscape exhibitions in London and Christen Købke
|Peder Balke, The Mountain Range ‘Trolltindene’ c.1845|
Collection of Asbjørn Lunde, New York
© Photo courtesy of the owner
About Peder Balke - a timeline
- 1804 - Peder Balke born into poverty on the Norwegian island of Helgøya (in Lake Mjøsa, Eastern Norway)
- 1820s - he stayed on the farm of Vester-Balke Farm in Toten in Oppland county. Here he was considered "a son of the house" and took the name Balke.
- I'm unclear why he became a painter but accounts suggest he was initially self-taught
- 1827 - He studied decorative painting in Christiania for two years.
- 1829 - He moved to Stockholm where he was taught by the landscape painter Johann Fahlkrantz (Professor at the Art Academy).
- 1832 - Balke travelled by ship to the see the dramatic coastline of the Northern Cape. This is a rugged and largely inaccessible area of Norway within the Arctic Circle. Balke explored this area and based his career as a landscape artist on the seascapes and landscape motifs associated with this area of Arctic Circle.
''… the pen cannot describe the illustrious and overwhelming impression, which the opulent beauties of nature and locations delivered to the eye and the mind – an impression, that not only caught me in the flush of the moment, but also had a significant influence onto my whole future life, as I never, not in a foreign country nor anywhere else in our country, had the opportunity to contemplate something so impressive and inspiring as what I have seen on this Finnmark-journey.''
- Between 1835 and 1844 - he travelled twice to Dresden. Here he studied with the leading Norwegian, Johan Christian Dahl.
- Balke was also influenced by the nineteenth-century romanticism of artists such as Caspar David Friedrich
- 1845 - Balke travelled to London and Paris. King Louis-Philippe commissioned him to produce landscapes of northern Norwegian scenes. The commission was abandoned in 1848 due to the French Revolution but today 28 sketches for it remain in the Louvre.
- 1850 - Balke returned to Christiania and he began to devote more time to politics and property.
- 1860 - he continued to paint - mostly small, improvisational oils on panel with more roughly applied brushwork and his own hands - but these were primarily for his own amusement.
- 1887 - he died and, outside Norway, his paintings sank into obscurity.
National Gallery Director, Dr Nicholas Penny, has commented
''The work of Peder Balke is extremely significant for the history of 19th-century landscape painting. British audiences are well aware of the tradition of Constable and Turner, but this landmark exhibition will introduce them to a skilled and innovative practitioner of this discipline from the same period but from elsewhere in Europe. A previous National Gallery exhibition of Scandinavian art – ‘Forests, Rocks, Torrents: Norwegian and Swiss Landscapes from the Lunde Collection’ (2011) – was highly successful, being enjoyed by 148,408 visitors.''
There's a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue associated with the exhibition Paintings by Peder Balke which I've not yet seen.