The Wadsworth Atheneum will present for the first time an exhibition focused on the leading figures of 19th-century Norwegian landscape painting: Christian Dahl, Thomas Fearnley, and Peder Balke. Sublime North: Romantic Painters Discover Norway will explore their awe inspiring talents as landscape painters, trail their careers across Europe and compare their works with other contemporaneous European and American artists.
Landscape painting during the Romantic era was fueled by the concept of the sublime—renewed reverence for nature and its influence on emotion and the imagination. Together with his pupils Fearnley and Balke, Dahl infused Nordic fjords, craggy mountains, and rivers with the established repertoire of Romantic motifs—rocky inlets, misty hills, and contemplating wonderers. Fearnley’s powerful scenes are distinguished by sensitive effects of light, while Balke specialized in highly dramatic seascapes that foreshadow the abstraction of Modern art. These artists experimented with open-air oil studies, which, when combined with dramatic imaginary views, produced fresh interpretations of the rough and imposing Norwegian landscape.
(Photo: Johan Christian Clausen Dahl, View of the Feigumfoss in Lysterfjiord, 1848, oil on canvas, Private Collection, New York)