Exhibition of Contemporary Scandinavian Art

ID: 1486, Status: completed
Exhibition period:
Dec 10‒25, 1912
Organizing Bodies:
American Art Galleries / The American Scandinavian Society / American-Scandinavian Foundation
Catalogue Entries: 169
Types of Work: painting and drawing: 148, other medium: 21
Artists: 39
Gender: female: 1, male: 38
Nationalities: 3
collapse all Catalogue View List View
Date Title City Venue Type
Date Title City Venue # of common Artists
Jan‒Feb 1912 Hagenbund. Norwegische Künstler Vienna Räume des Künstlerbundes Hagen - Zedlitzgasse 14 artists
Sep 28‒Oct 23, 1910 XIII. Jahrgang. Winter 1910/1911. II. Ausstellung. [Norwegische Künstler. Karl Hofer] Berlin Paul Cassirer 4 artists
Nov‒Dec 1905 XVII. výstava Sp. V. U. Manes v Praze. Dánské umění (Den Frie Udstilling) [XVII. Exhibition of the Union of Fine Artists Manes in Prague. Danish Art (Den Frie Udstilling)] Prague [Pavilion in Kinsky Garden] 6 artists
autumn/1910 Schwedische Künstler Vienna Räume des Künstlerbundes Hagen - Zedlitzgasse 4 artists
1910 Maleriudstilling af Thorvald Erichsen, Kristen Holbø, August Jacobsen, Erik Werenskiold, O. Wold-Torne Gothenburg Konstförening Göteborg 3 artists
1910 De Norska Konstnärernas, Erik Werenskiold, Thorvals Erichsen, Kristen Holbø, August Jacobsen, O. Wold-Torne Stockholm Sveriges Allmänna Konstförening 3 artists
Mar 15‒Jun 15, 1913 Exhibition of Work by Modern Norwegian Artists Brighton Public Art Galleries 6 artists
Nov‒Dec 1910 XXXIV. výstava Spolku výtvar. umělců Manes. Švédské umění [XXXIV. Exhibition of the Union of Fine Artists Manes. Swedish Art] Prague [Pavilion in Kinsky Garden] 3 artists
May 25‒Sep 30, 1912 Internationale Kunstausstellung des Sonderbundes Westdeutscher Kunstfreunde und Künstler zu Cöln Cologne Städtische Ausstellungshalle am Aachener Tor 10 artists
Jun 1, 1911 Retrospektiva Konstutställningen 1861-1911 Gothenburg Gothenburg [exact location unknown] 6 artists
1912 XXIV. Ausstellung der Berliner Secession Berlin Ausstellungshaus am Kurfürstendamm 208/9 5 artists
Apr 22‒Oct 31, 1907 VII. Esposizione Internazionale d’Arte della Città di Venezia Venice Giardini Pubblici 12 artists
15/05/1908 - end/10/1908 Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung des Vereins bildender Künstler Münchens (E.V.) "Secession" Munich Königliches Kunstausstellungsgebäude am Königsplatz 3 artists
Nov 14, 1906‒1907 Téli nemzetközi kiállítás [International Winter Exhibition] Budapest Műcsarnok 6 artists
Jan 1913 1888-1913. Kunstsalon Fritz Gurlitt Berlin Fritz Gurlitt 2 artists
Feb 9‒Mar 24, 1909 Akvarellek, pasztellek és grafikai művek nemzetközi kiállitása [International Exhibition of Aquarelles, Pastels and Graphics] Budapest Műcsarnok 7 artists
Oct 1911 Kunst unserer Zeit in Cölner Privatbesitz Cologne Wallraf-Richartz-Museum 2 artists
1906 Elfte Ausstellung der Berliner Secession Berlin Ausstellungshaus am Kurfürstendamm 208/9 3 artists
1907 Dreizehnte Ausstellung der Berliner Secession Berlin Ausstellungshaus am Kurfürstendamm 208/9 2 artists
1908 Fünfzehnte Ausstellung der Berliner Secession Berlin Ausstellungshaus am Kurfürstendamm 208/9 2 artists
Apr 1910 Zwanzigste Ausstellung der Berliner Secession Berlin Ausstellungshaus am Kurfürstendamm 208/9 2 artists
Apr 1909 Achtzehnte Ausstellung der Berliner Secession Berlin Ausstellungshaus am Kurfürstendamm 208/9 2 artists
Feb 17‒Apr 15, 1906 Internationale Kunstausstellung Bremen Bremen Kunsthalle Bremen 3 artists
Mar‒Jun 1913 Prima Esposizione Internazionale d'Arte della "Secessione" Rome Palazzo dell'Esposizone 2 artists
Apr 22‒Oct 31, 1905 VI. Esposizione d'Arte della Città di Venezia Venice Giardini Pubblici 3 artists
Apr 25‒Jun 30, 1912 Sixteenth Annual Exhibition Pittsburgh Carnegie Institute 2 artists
Apr 30‒Jun 30, 1914 Eighteenth Annual Exhibition Pittsburgh Carnegie Institute 2 artists
Apr 13‒Jul 1912 Stedelijke Internationale Tentoonstelling Van Kunstwerken Van Levende Meesters Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum 5 artists
1912 Sommaire des Peintures et Sculptures de l'École Contemporaine exposées dans les Galeries du Musée National du Luxembourg Paris Musée National du Luxembourg 3 artists
Apr 23‒Oct 31, 1914 XI. Esposizione d'Arte della Città di Venezia Venice Giardini Pubblici 3 artists
Oct 6‒Nov 15, 1906 Salon d'Automne. 4e Exposition Paris Grand Palais des Champs Elysées 2 artists
01/06/1905 - end/10/1905 IX. Internationale Kunstausstellung Munich Königlicher Glaspalast 5 artists
Organizing Committee
John A. Gade; President
Rev. Frederick Lynch; Vice-President
Hanna Astrup Larsen; Acting Secretary
Rev. W. H. Short; Treasurer
H. E. Almberg; Counsel
F. W. Greenfield; Emil F. Johnson; Auditors

Louis S. Amonson, Philadelphia, Pa.
Prof. Gisle Bothne, University Of Minncaota, Minneapolis,Minn
Miles M. Dawson, New York City, N. Y.
Prof. George T. Flom University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.
J. D. Frederiksen, Little Falls, N. Y.
John A. Gade, New York City, N. Y.
John D. Hage, New York City, N. Y.
J. Hoving, M.D., New York City, N. Y.
A. E. Johnson, New York City, N. Y.
E. F. Johnson, New York City, N. Y.
Ove Lange, New York City, N. Y.
Carl Lorentzen, New York City, N. Y.
Rev. Frederick Lynch, New York City, N. Y.
Prof. David Nyvall, Washington State Univ., Seattle, Wash.
Prof.A.H. Palmer, Yale University, New Haven, Conn.
Frode Rambusch, New York City, N. Y.
P. A. Reque, M.D., Brooklyn, N. Y.
Rev. W. H. Short, New York City, N. Y.
Consul C. A. Smith, Oakland, Cal.
Prof. Calvin Thomas, Columbia Univ., New York City, N. Y.
Hon. Oscar M. Torrison, Chicago, Ill.


Rev. Frederick Lynch, President
Consul-General Chr. Ravn, Vice-President
Henry Goddard Leach, Secretary
Rev. W. H. Short, Treasurer
H. E. Almberg, Counsel

Louis S. Amonson
Samuel T. Dutton
Charles S. Haight
Hamilton Holt
Alexander E. Johnson
John D. Hage
Prof. Wm. Hovgaard
Rev. Frederick Lynch
Consul O. H. Haugan
Prof. William H. Schofield
Prof. Arthur H. Palmer
Consul-General Chr. Ravn
Consul Chas. A. Smith
Rev. William H. Short
Inc. New York Redfield Brothers (ed.): Exhibition of Contemporary Scandinavian Art. 1912.
Nr. of pages: 176 [PDF page number: 186].
Holding Institution: online: archive.org
Christian Brinton: Introduction, p.11-26

"NOT the least significant phase of esthetic expression has been the constant endeavour on the one hand to achieve a fusion of form, line, and colour that shall commend itself as universal in appeal, and on the other to preserve those fundamental factors which may be designated as national in substance. It is a struggle that has been waged unceasingly throughout the ages, and which repeats itself alike in the artistic development of every nation and every individual. The human spirit constantly seeks to voice in expansive fashion the great, typical impressions received from nature and from life, and yet has at the same time been endowed with the precious faculty of interpreting them after its own specific manner and largely according to a predetermined plan. If you attempt to deprive the creative impulse of its conscious or unconscious universality of utterance, or of its inherent nationality of accent, you go far toward destroying its significance, for art, whether produced in obscure wayside cottage, simple hut among the hills, or under the prestige of an organized institution, will instinctively seek to widen its outlook and clothe itself in a language for which it has the justification of an inalienable racial heritage. [p. 11]
It is to the enduring credit of the leading Scandinavian countries that they may be counted among those fortunate peoples who, despite external influences, have stoutly guarded their native artistic birthright. Their achievements in the field of painting, sculpture, architecture, and industrial design are refreshingly and unmistakably their own. Save in rare and isolated cases they do not speak, and do not attempt to speak, that superficial studio Volapük, that facile salon Esperanto, which is so utterly devoid of character and vitality. You will remark above all in the production of each of these nations, and to a kindred degree in each instance, the salutary stamp of race and of country. It is in fact only the redoubtable Russians who can to-day compete with the sturdy Scandinavians in the possession of a spontaneous, unspoiled esthetic patrimony. The reasons for such a situation have in many respects been similar, if not, indeed, identical. As in the case of Russia, the relative geographical remoteness of the Peninsula, the barrier of an unfamiliar speech, and the fact that the pallid fervor of Christianity and the pagan richness of the Renaissance were comparatively late in making appearance on the scene, all tended toward preserving that integrity of expression alike in art, letters, and music which is their most distinctive possession. It must not, however, be jauntily assumed that the contribution of the Scandinavian nations to the sum of creative artistic effort is, save in a broad sense, one and the same. Their painting, in particular, divides itself into three well-defined schools, which developed at different intervals, and the leading features of which are manifestly at variance.
Historically, and in the general order of precedence, Sweden was the first of the Northern countries to foster esthetic culture in any definite degree. Long before Den- [p. 12]
mark, and still longer before Norway could boast an interest in the fine arts-apart, of course, from their most primitive and elementary application-the Swedes were familiar with that which was being accomplished abroad, and were welcoming to their shores prominent painters and architects from Holland, Germany, France, and Italy. Protected by the Court and favoured by the nobility, art flourished in approved fashion in Stockholm and certain other of the more important centres. Still, though a great deal has always been made of early Swedish culture, it is not clearly realized that it was of the most extraneous and sporadic description. It is true that the Thirty Years' War had made these hardy campaigners masters of some of the finest collections in all Europe; it is likewise true that Swedish born painters attained distinction in Paris and elsewhere, but nevertheless beauty in no sense penetrated the masses, and much less was it a product of patient, earnest, local endeavour.
The chief reasons why it was several generations before the Swedes were able to display anything resembling independent artistic activity were the distraction and general depletion of vitality occasioned by incessant foreign wars, and the fact that the population was distributed over such a wide area that communication was difficult if not, indeed, actually impossible. Art is essentially social and gregarious, and it is, in consequence, not to eighteenth century Sweden, but to Denmark during the early years of the nineteenth century that we must turn for the first specific signs of esthetic promise throughout the entire Peninsula. Living in a geographically more condensed community, and being themselves innately peaceful and home-loving' at heart, the Danes were enabled to produce those few almost apologetic, yet epoch-making figures, so sympathetically [p. 13]
silhouetted by Director Madsen, who were the veritable founders of modem Scandinavian painting. Their inherent clarity of vision, their simplicity of theme and treatment and, above all, their unfailing solidarity and cohesion, shielded them from outside influences. At a period when the rest of Europe was revelling in the pretentious aftermath of the classic revival, and later, when the specious gleams of a purely studio romanticism were flashed upon soaring mountain peak, crumbling ruin, and tiny peasant chalet, the Danes alone remained true to native type and scene. Their art was unpretentious, but it was soundly and endearingly national in feeling. Even those first, earnest-souled pilgrims who went to Italy, flung off a flaccid classicism when they faced homeward, and ended by preferring simple Copenhagen townsfolk to Sicilian bandit and Neapolitan flower seller. You will find nowhere, save in the work of the Dutchmen themselves, a similar love of everyday motive such as you discover in the art of the Danes. This modestly tenacious desire to be and to remain oneself is the keynote of Danish painting. And it is this quality that is responsible for an unbroken continuity of development extending down to the present day.
On glancing, with somewhat more than casual, tourist curiosity at the artistic prospect of Norway, you will be greeted with a wholly different set of conditions, both social and historical, and consequently with results which present still further variation from the general type under consideration. Norway enjoys the distinction of having evolved, during the dim, legendary days of her intrepid Vikings and sea rovers, a thoroughly original and independent national style. Buckler and shield, carved ship prow, and curious wooden house, not to mention commemorative tablets to fallen heroes, and the richly ornamental dress of the living, [p. 14]
all bear witness to a bold and individual conception of the possibilities of decorative design. Superb in rhythm and splendid in form as much of this work is, it was, alas, swept aside by the inevitable ferment of the ages and has persisted largely in mind and memory, and not, to any perceptible degree, as a vital creative force. It is true that at present there is an intelligent and well-defined movement to revive the ancient saga spirit, yet it is mainly confined to the field of arts and crafts. Although boasting what should logically have proved a magnificently fruitful legacy, contemporary Norwegian painting owes little or nothing to the past. Its actual beginnings date only from the early decades of the last century. In point of fact, it is the youngest school of the three, and as such flaunts the priceless boon of a fresh, unfatigued outlook upon nature and life. There having been no such thing as systematic training in their own country, the pioneer Norwegian painters went, as a rule, to Copenhagen for instruction, and it was there that they absorbed that veracious, clear-eyed vision of external reality which has set its wholesome seal upon the work of each successive generation.
This, in brief, is the fragmentary and not infrequently shadowy profile of Scandinavian painting during the formative stages of its development. You note in the art of Sweden, that is to say in the art of the Gustavian and Carolean periods, a refined and spirited eclecticism characteristic of a community in close touch with Continental ideals. Still, no matter how cultured its Court and upper classes may have been, a nation largely composed of restless warriors and remotely isolated agriculturists cannot be at the same time a nation of painters, and Sweden was fated to wait until a much later date before evincing her inherent artistic proclivities. In the case of Denmark, as you readily [p. 15]
see, the situation was distinctly more favourable for the fostering of native talent. Less ambitious of conquering a world position by sheer force of arms, satisfied in the main with her restricted natural bounderies, and possessing the wisdom and sagacity to cultivate herself intensively along all lines of activity, it is but fitting that art, which is so essentially a flower of social stability, should have first taken root upon Danish soil. With Norway it must always be a source of regret that the inspiring substratum of saga tradition should have been buried so deeply beneath the debris of time and, indeed, often wilfully neglected or destroyed – yet still in the present-day production of these rugged sons of mountain and fjord we are convincingly confronted with the spirit of their ancestors. Full of undeveloped power and passionate defiance, more fundamentally talented than the Swedes, and endowed with an aggressive force often disconcerting to the pacific Danes, the Norwegians were able, within the span of a few brief, tempestuous years, to place themselves abreast of their more advantageously situated neighbours.
It was inevitable, once intercommunication with the Continent was established, that Scandinavian painting should have responded to those same influences which, during the ensuing decades, dominated European art in general. Classicism was followed by romanticism, and within romanticism and its robust successor, naturalism, lurked the germs of the impressionist movement. The romantic tendency in German art and the taste for story telling genre found ready devotees among the midcentury Scandinavian painters. In Sweden we have Malmström and his delicately diaphanous water nymphs; in Denmark we note Exner and his genial souled Amager peasants, while Norway completes the picture with the panoramically [p. 16]
viewed fjords and mountains of Gude, and Tidemand's more serious and solidly constructed rural pastors or gaily decked bridal couples in the Hardanger. Düsseldorf was the point from which radiated this manifestly false conception of reality. The grandiose glow of artificial sunset and the softly mellow 'radiance of humble, candle-lit interior characterized the all too popular output of this period. Genuine, first-hand observation was unknown. Art had again become a mere convention, though by no means so diverting a one as in the days of Watteau and his more playful pedants, Fragonard, Lancret, and Pater.
While there is no denying that Scandinavian painters of the middle and the third quarter of the century fell under this same insidious spell, they were by no means slavish followers of a mood which in more than one sense was utterly foreign to their inborn taste and inclination. Although there were at one interval no less than twenty-seven Swedish students at the Diisseldorf Academy, and though the prestige of Dahl at Dresden and Gude at Karlsruhe and later at Berlin was recognized on all sides, the Northern painters were more sincerely naturalistic in their landscapes and more soundly truthful in their character studies than were their Teutonic professors and prototypes. And when at length the day of Diisseldorf was finally over, and with one accord they all repaired to Munich, the Norwegians in particular revealed a sober richness of tonality and freedom of brush stroke which at once made them remarked in the then most popuJar art centre of Europe.
While it was portraiture and landscape which mainly attracted the Norwegians, it was the more pretentious appeal of historical theme that claimed the attention of the Swedes. This was not alone the day of Eilif Peterssen's dark and imposing likenesses of the leading artistic and [p. 17]
literary figures of the early 'eighties; it was also the hour of the huge concoctions of Georg von Rosen, Gustaf Cederström, and Karl Hellqvist, certain of whose canvases, heroic in size and supposedly also so in sentiment, were actually painted within the shadow of the Academy walls and under the approving eyes of Wagner and Piloty. We must not, however, be unduly severe upon the Scandinavians of this stressful and not infrequently distressing epoch. Almost every artist of the day was doing much the same sort of thing. It was the fashion to be impressive. The human countenance was given unwonted significance by Lenbach and his followers, and historical scenes were staged with a dramatic effectiveness which rivalled that of the theatre. Out of this world, which was largely composed of rhetoric and unreality, sound nevertheless a few virile and striking notes. You cannot forget the earnest, militant gaze of Eilif Peterssen's Arne Garborg – painted, it is true, much later, but still in the approved Munich manner – nor do you fail to catch a hint of veritable arctic fortitude in the figure of von Rosen's Adolf Nordenskiold, resolutely facing the illimitable expanse of ice and snow stretching about on every side.
Straightforward and indigenous as Danish art has ever been, it did not entirely escape the current fallacies of the hour. Though it is true that such men as Carl Bloch succeeded in ignoring the obligations of a well-defined national style, such phenomena were, however, notably rare. The genteel provincialism of Danish art remained virtually undisturbed by extraneous sympathies for some time yet. It was not, in fact, until the coming of Krøyer that any perceptible change took place in the contribution of these peaceful apostles of objective verity, whose vision did not extend beyond the confines of their serene little country, [p. 18]
every comer of which reflects the most benign care and solicitude. The mention of Krøyer brings us, by the way, to the very threshold of the modem movement, the first effects of which tended in the direction of internationalism, but which, after a brief period of clarification, became the obedient instrument of a national artistic expression revealing hitherto unsuspected depth and chromatic brilliancy.
Those same tendencies which had for years past developed so spontaneously and unconsciously with the Danes, now took definite shape with the Swedes and Norwegians. The inspiring period of self-discovery ably outlined by Director Thiis in the field of Norwegian art, was paralleled by the Swedes along kindred lines. Just as the early 'eighties saw Erik Werenskiold, Christian Krohg, Gerhard Munthe, and Eilif Peterssen back in Christiania, taking up the cudgels for the new cause, so that less belligerent but even more spirited group, which included Zorn, Larsson, Liljefors, . Josephson, and Nordstrom, likewise carried the fight right the portals of the Swedish Academy, which they finally to succeeded in opening to the stimulating light of day. And what is still more significant, the movement was in no sense confined to painting alone. It was felt alike in all three countries and in all avenues of activity. As is usually the case it was the author who led the way, and the artist who followed with his still more highly developed sense of form and passionate quest of colour. In Denmark the eloquent mysticism of Grundtvig found 'its graphic counterpart in the cartoons of Skovgaard. In Norway Werenskiold and Kittelsen gave typical semblance to the idyllic figures of native folk tale, while Swedish landscape, first pictured with sympathetic accuracy in the novels of Strindberg, and the appealingly romantic periods of Verner von Heidenstam, came into its full richness and splendour in the austerely [p. 19]
beautiful panels of Karl Nordstrom, the star-studded canvases of Eugene Jansson, and the noble exaltation of Prince Eugen's luminous views of wood, water, and majestically soaring cloud.
The movement toward a more conscious appreciation of the very soul of the Scandinavian people seemed, however, to focus itself in the work and personality of that remarkable pioneer in a singularly fruitful field, Artur Hazelius, the virtual creator of the renowned Northern Museum in Stockholm and the nearby Open Air Museum at Skansen. It is owing to the zealous energy and unflagging enthusiasm of Hazelius that the Scandinavian nation as a whole has been brought to a definite, objective realization of its place in European ethnic and esthetic development. No one had heretofore a concise idea as to what had actually been accomplished until Hazelius and his assistants began collecting the humble, anonymous treasure troves of peasant industry and arranging them with scientific precision and presenting them in the most enlightened and effective manner possible. Ancient wooden houses were transported bodily to Skansen and nestled among appropriately authentic gardens and grounds, or perched upon stony hillside corresponding as exactly as was feasible to their original sites. Rooms were re-erected and furnished precisely as they were in bygone days, and the incidental decorative and domestic arts, such as wood-carving, iron work, pottery, and weaving, found place in a broad scheme, the colour notes of which were contributed by the bright red, clear green, dauntless yellow, or discreet white and black of native dress. The work which Hazelius accomplished in Sweden under such. difficulties, but in the end with such a supreme measure of success, was in part duplicated at the Danish Folk and Industrial Art Museums of Copenhagen, and later at the [p. 20]
Museum of Industrial Art in Christiania and the still more recent Open Air Folk Museum at Bygde.
It is impossible to over-estimate the value of this illuminating work. The fast disappearing fragments of an eloquent and absorbing epoch were assembled and placed upon permanent record. Handicrafts of various descriptions were revived, and old customs and the spirit of a sturdy, wholesome past were kept alive and can never be entirely obliterated. The importance of what has been already described as the characteristically objective side of this great movement toward self-discovery-which in essence was merely a rediscovery-is far reaching. I ts effects can be plainly felt in numerous widely separated channels of activity, and not least in the province of. the fine arts. It has, above all, taught the general public what the Scandinavian peoples really are, and thus affords the soundest possible basis for judging that art which they today produce in such stimulating richness, abundance, and variety. It is work evolved under such conditions which you have in the present exhibition, though before approaching its latest manifestations we must resume a little more definitely the logical sequence of development.
The painting of the naturalistic period, which is best exemplified in the robust, veracious excursions of Christian Krohg into the social, and of Bruno Liljefors into the animal world, gradually became more impressionistic in the hands of those Paris-trained men to whom an analysis of the shifting play of light seemed for the time being the end and aim of pictorial expression. The leading exponents of pleinairism were Kreyer in Denmark, and Diriks in Norway, the latter being particularly successful in his ability to indicate motion. There is a grandeur, a touch of Ossianesque power and solemnity, in certain canvases by Diriks, which [p. 21]
give them high place in contemporary Norwegian painting. You see here the man who is a direct descendant of centuries of sea rovers, and who embodies in himself and his work their restless, questing spirit. Modem though they unquestionably be in their feeling for bright, sparkling tints and dexterous and vivacious surface effects, neither Zorn nor Thaulow, two of the most facile technicians Scandinavia has ever boasted, can with any strictness be termed Impressionists. Few of the Northerners, in point of fact, are explicit followers of the impressionist formula. Broken surfaces and the minute and often meticulous suggestion of tonal decomposition, as practised by the Frenchmen, are rare in the work of these artists who as a rule prefer a more direct and flowing brush stroke. Instead of carrying matters as far as the pointellists, most of them merely made use of the spirit of the new gospel, which they adapted to their several needs and purposes. The Swedes remained quite as Swedish as before, and in Norway you see even as early as the 'nineties signs of a reaction, notably in the restrained • and fervent triumphs of the new romantic movement, fostered by the late Halfdan Egedius, and to-day exemplified in the deeply personal art of Harald Sohlberg, whose canvases recall in their zealous, conscientious craftsmanship and subdued emotional intensity the work of a still earlier period. And as before the painter did not stand alone, for by the side of Sohlberg wrote and dreamed with delicate ardour the brothers Thomas and Vilhelm Krag, who have enriched modem Norwegian prose and verse with some of its rarest flowers of fancy and most sensitive, penetrant observation.
Although after Impressionism logically come PostImpressionism, Expressionism, and all the other isms that latter-day art is heir to, we must not fail to recognize the fact that two veritable precursors of what is now termed the [p. 22]
modem movement, not alone in Scandinavian painting, but in the painting of Europe as well, were the Dane, Jens Ferdinand Willumsen, and the Norwegian, Edvard Munch. Both Willumsen and Munch are innate pathfinders. If you concede a hint of Raffaelli in certain of Willumsen's early Paris studies and sketches, and a touch of Christian Krohg's naturalistic integrity in the work of Munch's first period, every trace of early dependence was lost in the invigourating, defiant canvases that shortly followed. Willumsen soon discovered that Paul Gauguin possessed a more progressive potency than did the narrowly Parisian painter of boulevard and banlieu, and as for Munch, he had merely to look into his own tremulous or feverishly exalted soul in order to summon forth a myriad teeming pictorial fancies. In Willumsen you find, amid an impetuous torrent of creative exuberance, two essentially Danish qualities-sanity and humour. In Munch's art one is confronted with an acute hypersensitiveness voiced now with masterly conviction, now in troubled, toured accents. A profound awe, a cosmic fear, is the keynote of these canvases. He is as a child who sees terror in the most familiar shapes, or a man who shudders on the brink of an abyss, obsessed with the eternal mysteries of life, desire, and death.
Matters have lately moved so fast in the field of art that men whose names half a dozen years ago were considered the synonym of modernity, to-day find themselves occupying a relatively middle position. Among these may be mentioned the two superlatively talented Norwegians, Henrik Lund and Ludvig Karsten. They are both fluent, brilliant draughtsmen, and colourists of rare power and vivacity. The work of Lund in particular will doubtless command attention through its spirited verve of stroke and bold, yet delicately modulated colour values. There are, however, in [p. 23]
the present exhibition still more advanced notes. The Danes, Sigurd Swane, Edvard Weihe, and Harald Giersing, go even a step further, while in the two canvases by Per Krohg you have the ideals of the Salon des Independants, plus a certain touch of Northern seriousness and sobriety. There is scant question but that certain of this work will seem to timorous stay-at-homes the outcome of sheer, wilful exaggeration or deliberate perversity. It may be unpatriotic to say so, but, judged by current European standards, we are distinctly behind the times when it comes to the matter of esthetic development. Whatever it may have accomplished in the political or industrial world, our much discussed progressive spirit has clearly not penetrated the subtler province of the fine arts. Even modest and ultra conservative little Copenhagen has had its glimpse of the Futurists, while copies of Der Blaue Reiter, Der Sturm, and Les Tendences Nouvelles are eagerly purchased in the more prominent book shops. While it is true that we have had our intermittently illuminating tabloid exhibitions at the Photo-Secession, nothing is yet known of modem art as a movement, and it is thus, and thus alone, that it should be studied, not merely from isolated, unrelated samples, or specimens which confuse, without in the least degree clarifying, the popular mind.
It is obviously too soon to predict with any measure of precision what effect the Expressionist propaganda may ultimately have upon Scandinavian art in general. One can only judge by what has taken place in the past. And yet one thing is certain, and that is that modernism must be reckoned with as a force possessing a vitality which cannot readily be ignored or extinguished. Copenhagen, as already noted, has lately been given the opportunity to judge for itself. Stockholm boasts its Salon Joël and The Eight – [p. 24]
whose leader is Isaac Grunewald-while in Per. Krohg and kindred spirits Christiania possesses its isolated but earnest apostles of progress. All this is a far cry from the crisp, inviolate whiteness of Gustaf Fjzstad's snow scenes, or the quiescent ambience of Vilhelm Hammershei's discreetly luminous little interiors. It is also far from the sterling objectivity of Ring's closely painted landscapes, and from Sundbom, the bright-countenanced scene of Carl Larsson's activity, snugly nestled among the birches of Dalecarlia. We have pushed rapidly forward during the past decade, perhaps a bit too rapidly, but still there is no cause for alarm, since that which holds within it the precious secret of permanency will survive, and that which is inconsequential will be speedily consigned to the limbo of oblivion.
There is one fact which stands clearly forth after a comprehensive survey of Scandinavian painting, and it is that, no matter what transitions may have been recorded during successive periods of development, the primal, elementary basis of this art has remained unchanged. It continues, as always, full of tender lyricism and heroic intensity. It is the typical expression of a race whose civilization is young, yet whose roots lie deep-anchored in the past, and whose present is the direct product of certain definite, prenatal conditions. And not only does the racial factor enter largely into this work, but back of it looms a still more sovereign source of strength. The marked unity of tone-that blond clarity so characteristic of the North which you will instantly recognize-is merely one phase of a general congruity of aim, a single broad harmony of purpose which exists between the land itself and its people. For centuries there has been going silently and irresistibly forward a subtle process of interaction between these two elements which is reflected alike in litera- [p. 25]
ture and in art. There can be no question but that such facts are eloquently manifest in the work herewith under consideration. You instinctively feel, on studying these canvases, an exhilarating sense of direct communication with nature and natural forces. You note the naive seat of healthy, unfatigued sensibilities for fresh, tonic flour contrasts, and you feel the thrill of eternal aspiration m this fondness for great open spaces and the magic radiance of the arctic aurora. From the very outset this sturdy, sea-faring and forest-loving folk have been in complete consonance with their surroundings. And we can only be grateful that they have conveyed their esthetic message in terms at once so robustly beautiful and so valiantly autonomous.
The current exhibition which, in brief, may be characterized as a superb demonstration of pictorial pantheism, reveal, to Americans Scandinavian art as it actually exists. It is distinctly more progressive than retrospective or reminiscent in spirit, and in being so is all the more true to artistic conditions as they obtain to-day in the three countries represented. Face to face with these stimulating, colourful canvases, you will doubtless find much to admire, and not a little that may prove disconcerting. Yet you must beef in mind one important thing, and that is to look at each separate picture, in as far as possible, with the eyes of the man who painted it. His vision is more individual, his soul more vigorously or subtly expressive than yours, and it is your duty to take his message on faith, in case you do not at first comprehend it. For it has always been, and will always be, the artist's mission to lead, and the public's privilege to follow. [p. 26] "
Catalogue Structure
"Introductory Note", p. 7-8
"American-Scandinavian Society. Officers For 1912 [...] / Board of Trustees" p. 9
"American-Scandinavian Foundation. Officers For 1912 [...] / Board of Trustees" p. 10
"Introduction", p. 11-26
"The Art of Sweden", p. 27-33
"The Art of Denmark", p. 34-38
"The Art of Norway", p. 39-52
Catalogue "Swedisch Section", cat. no. 1-58, p. 53-73
Catalogue "Danish Section", cat. no. 59-115, p. 75-98
Catalogue "Norwegian Section", cat. no. 116-165, p. 99-123
"Illustrations", p. 125-159
"List of Artists", p. 161-162
"List of Illustrations", p. 163-165
Advertisments, p. 166-176
Additional Information
Traveling Exhibition
Other Mediums listed
Participant Addresses listed
- "Scandinavian Art Exhibition under the gracious Patronage of His Majesty Gustav V King of Sweden
His Majesty Christian X King of Denmark
His Majesty Haakon Vii King of Norway
Held by the American-Scandinavian Society 1912-1913 in New York, Buffalo, Toledo,
Chicago, and Boston", p. 5

- Biographies of artists provided in catalogue.
- Artists portraits are provided in catalogue.

+Gender Distribution (Pie Chart)

+Artists’ Age at Exhibition Start(Bar Chart)

+Artists’ Nationality(Pie Chart)

+Places of Activity of Artists(Pie Chart)

+Exhibiting Cities of Artists(Pie Chart)

+Catalogue Entries by Type of Work(Pie Chart)

+Catalogue Entries by Nationality(Pie Chart)

Name Date of Birth Date of Death Nationality # of Cat. Entries
Anna Katarina Boberg 1864 1935 SE 7
Prince of Sweden Eugen 1865 1947 SE 2
Gustaf Fjaestad 1868 1948 SE 8
Gunnar August Hallström 1875 1943 SE 3
Otto Hesselbom 1848 1913 SE 4
Carl Larsson 1853 1919 SE 10
Bruno Liljefors 1860 1939 SE 4
Anders Zorn 1860 1920 SE 7
Harald Giersing 1881 1927 DK 1
Vilhelm Hammershøi 1864 1916 DK 11
Karl Aksel Jørgensen 1883 1957 DK 2
Knud Kyhn 1880 1969 DK 2
Johannes Larsen 1867 1961 DK 4
Viggo Madsen 1885 1954 DK 2
Ejnar Nielsen 1872 1956 DK 3
Julius Paulsen 1860 1940 DK 1
Laurits Andersen Ring 1854 1933 DK 5
Karl Schou 1870 1938 DK 4
Sigurd Swane 1879 1973 DK 3
Fritz Syberg 1862 1939 DK 4
Edvard Weie 1879 1943 DK 2
Jens Ferdinand Willumsen 1863 1958 DK 8
Karl Edvard Diriks 1855 1930 NO 2
Thorvald Erichsen 1868 1939 NO 3
Bernhard Dorotheus Folkestad 1879 1933 NO 2
Thorolf Holmboe 1866 1935 NO 5
Ludvig Karsten 1876 1926 NO 1
Arne Kavli 1878 1970 NO 3
Christian Krohg 1852 1925 NO 3
Per Krohg 1889 1965 NO 2
Henrik Louis Lund 1879 1935 NO 6
Edvard Munch 1863 1944 NO 6
Søren Onsager 1878 1946 NO 3
Eilif Peterssen 1852 1928 NO 2
Christian Skredsvig 1854 1924 NO 1
Harald Oskar Sohlberg 1869 1935 NO 5
Dagfin Werenskiold 1892 Jun 29, 1977 NO 1
Erik Werenskiold 1855 1938 NO 4
Oluf Wold-Torne 1867 1919 NO 2
Recommended Citation: "Exhibition of Contemporary Scandinavian Art." In Database of Modern Exhibitions (DoME). European Paintings and Drawings 1905-1915. Last modified Sep 23, 2020. https://exhibitions.univie.ac.at/exhibition/1486