The exhibition From Dawn till Dusk – Nordic Art Around the Turn of the Century 1900 opens at Nationalmuseum Jamtli in Östersund on 28 May. Around 130 works will be displayed, including artists like Eugène Jansson, Eva Bonnier, Helmer Osslund, Carl Wilhelmson, Elsa Beskow, Anders Zorn and Bruno Liljefors. The exhibition highlights the artistic development that took place in the Nordic countries around the turn of the century, when artists travelled abroad to paint sun-drenched motifs, and eventually returning painting Nordic landscapes in the twilight hour.
The last decades of the 19th century were a period of radical development in art in the Nordic region. Young artists grew tired of the conservative atmosphere of the art academies, where history painting was highly valued. One by one, many of the most talented students tried finding their way abroad, in most cases to France and Paris. Suddenly, they experienced freedom - not least the female artists who encountered far better conditions in Paris than those at home. Far from the artificial world of history painting, the artists could instead direct their focus to reality and paint it with the same empathy and seriousness.
Around 1890, there was a call for a clearer national Nordic art. Voices were raised to get the artists to return home in order to paint their own countries in a way that expressed their idiosyncrasies. In Sweden it is possible to describe the development within painting as being like the themes going from dawn to dusk and day to night. This is primarily seen in landscape painting but also in a way in painting portraits, which became more introverted. The exhibition shows a series of dusk themes - from interiors with socialising around tables with candles to suggestive views from Stockholm. The literature was an important entry into the visual arts, for example in Sweden, Strindberg moved about the city in a way that is reminiscent of Charles Baudelaire and Émile Zola. The city soon carried its own mythology, made more influential when combined with the imagination of the reader or the viewer and which strengthened the images and closest dramatic experiences even although nothing takes place in them - a deserted urban space that forms the stage for the imagination of the viewer.
Nationalmuseum Jamtli opened in June 2018 and is an arena for art and design experiences in Östersund. It offers a combination of Jamtli’s award-winning educational approach and the Nationalmuseum’s unique collections and knowledge.