blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

At the Gothenburg Museum of Art

A pole dancer by von Zeipel

A comment on Rodin's Kiss
by Monica Larsen-Dennis
A fortunate discovery! Not wanting to walk so far today this morning, because Chris is suffering from mysterious muscle cramps probably caused by his demanding week of work, we merely wandered within range of the hotel into the gardens across the canal where I'd been on Friday, and from there past the Teater and up the hill towards the university buildings. A couple of blocks further, was another wide avenue, leading to important-looking buildings at its top end, one of which was the Konstmuseet. Being keen on art galleries, we spent an hour in there.


An Other, by Tomas Lundgren
The exhibitions are on 6 floors, the most interesting part of the permanent collection being on the top two. Floor 5 has galleries devoted to 18th and 19th century Nordic art, a collection of European Old Masters: including Rubens, Rembrandt, and Cranach --- the latter's painting a rather horrible Salome with the head of John the Baptist --- juxtaposed with some equivalent Swedish paintings such as the lovely Damporträtt by an artist called Ökand (never heard of him). The larger oil canvasses were either examples of Swedish romantic landscape painting ("the sublime" much in evidence: cataracts, unscalable rocky peaks, dramatic waterfalls!) or of social realism: documents of 19th century scenes, the women pictured in Scandinavian costume. One wall was cleverly hung with a mishmash of older and newer framed pictures, including a striking chiaroscuro interior from 1959, by a Finnish photographer, Esko Männikkö: a chair in a beam of sunlight. At first glance it looked like something from the 17th century, until you noticed the bicycle wheels propped up in the background. We also found a girl's head done in black and white by Tomas Lundgren in 2014, entitled An Other.

Spot the photograph!

Knight with Six Maidens
Finally on the 6th floor, I took one glance ahead and warned Chris, "I'm going to be ages in here!" There was a whole area set aside for French impressionist, post-impressionist and expressionist paintings (Picasso had a whole room to himself). Swedish artists at the turn of the (19th / 20th) century were centred in "Bohemian" Gothenburg, so of course there was plenty of their work on display here, too. One of them, Ivar Arosenius (another person I'd never heard of) had been a versatile artist who sometimes worked on large canvasses (e.g. Vinter: a lonely little man trudging across a bleak winter landscape) and sometimes did funny little "fairytale" drawings, e.g. of a portly "knight with six maidens". In another part of the gallery two paintings, side by side, reminded me of Canada's Group of Seven. These were a painting from 1901 of Snö (snow) by Gustav Fjaestad, and a mysterious white tent(?) with a light glowing inside it and snow-laden firs all around, painted in 2015 and entitled Altarpiece, clearly symbolic in intent. Another relatively modern painting (modern in context, anyhow) was Nils Nilsson's Flyktinger, the heads of refugees with a few skulls showing behind them, one of the few paintings I found here in neo-romantic style. It was painted in 1937.


Flyktinger, 1937
I incidentally learned a good deal of Swedish vocabulary by reading the notes against these paintings, not to mention what I picked up about Swedish history and culture.

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