Along with Edvard Munch, Nikolai Astrup is one of Norway’s most popular and important artists. For the first time, Nikolais Astrup’s work is being presented outside Norway. With more than 90 oil paintings and prints, including works from private collections never exhibited before, brings this notable artist to London.
Half term is an excellent opportunity to head down to Dulwich Gallery to see the current exhibition of Nikolai Astrup. The work spans from famous oil paintings to woodcuts, sketches and also private family pictures. Walking through the exhibition you truly get an insight not only from the artist’s work, but also his life.
The lead image of this post is the ‘Rhubarb’, one of the most famous paintings by Astrup. A full size print hangs in the living room of my childhood home in Norway. It’s still there. I guess learning about it in school and having it on the wall when growing you up, although dear to you, you never feel you discovered it. Since it was always there. It was therefor with great pleasure I rediscovered the Nikolai Astrup and his work this February morning in Dulwich Gallery, London.
Astrup was born in Bremanger in Nordfjord, but grew up in Ålhus in Jølster where his father worked as a priest. He was the great-grandson of Nils Astrup, a one-term member of parliament. His father Christian wanted Nikolai, the oldest son, to become a priest as well. But Nikolai was more interested in drawing and painting and pursued art studies in Oslo instead.
He later lived for a while in Paris and in Germany before returning to Jølster. He got married and had 8 children. Astrup was suffering from poor health throughout his life and the artist died of pneumonia in 1928 at the age of 47 at his home in Norway.
Having spent the majority of his life in Jølster on the West Coast of Norway, the Nordic landscape proved a strong influence. Through his paintings he showed a love for the landscape and light and he sought to visualise the traditions and folklore of his home country. Suitably the exhibition is called ‘Nikolai Astrup Painting Norway’.
We were invited on a breakfast and press trip of the gallery, by Nordic Bakery and Dulwich Gallery. More about Nordic Bakery in a separate post… But we strongly recommend that you do not miss this beautiful exhibition of Nikolai Astrup’s work.
Where? Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, SE21 7AD
When? 5th February to 15th May 2016, Tuesday to Sunday 10am-5pm, Monday’s closed, except Bank Holidays.
Tickets? Adults £12.50, children enter for FREE.
Designed by London architect Sir John Soane in 1811, Dulwich Picture Gallery is the world’s first purpose-built art gallery and holds one of the most celebrated collections of European Old Master paintings; Rubens, Poussin, Van Dyck and Rembrandt to mention a few.
As with so many museums and galleries, Dulwich Gallery is very child friendly, with lots on for little ones; Weekly activities for families, a gallery cafe serving up fresh food and large green spaces outside for roaming freely – or a picnic if weather permits.
Also included in the exhibition is a digital display by Forest Folk. Playing upon the theme of metamorphosis prevalent in Astrup’s work, the display features two huge screens, on which ‘trolls’ hidden in a forest landscape respond to visitors entering the space. A fun and different experience both adults and children will love.
Find out more and plan your visit at dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk