Industrialism made its mark on art, with some artists responding positively and others reacting negatively to the changes in society. As photographic technology developed, there was no longer any need to paint realistically; to depict reality you could now use the camera.
The 19th century covered a wide variety of painting styles. In the first half of the century, the previous century’s Neoclassical and Romantic currents still held sway.
Around the middle of the century, more realistic and naturalistic currents began to emerge. Their adherents depicted society from a perspective of social realism, illustrating the class differences and negative aspects of the new, modern society.
The late 19th century was the era of the Impressionists, whose games with colour, light and brush strokes earned them harsh criticism. However, these very Impressionists had a lasting influence on modern art, producing many widely known works. It is hard to believe that these pictures were regarded as radical at the time.
Many Swedish artists made repeated visits to France. Plein air painting – painting outdoors rather than in the studio – arrived relatively late in Sweden. The end of the 19th century saw the emergence of the Opponents, a group of artists who resisted the academic approach to painting. Paris, the centre of the fin de siècle art world, was the source of much of their inspiration