A Norrland Valley oil on canvas mounted on a sketch book board signed Osc. Lycke dimensions 8.46 x 11.22 inches (21.5 x 28.5 cm) frame 11.42 x 14.37 inches (29 x 36.5 cm)
Provenance: A Swedish private collection
Essay: Oscar Lycke (1877-1927), a painter from Norrland (Northern Sweden), possessed a passion for art that began in his childhood, manifesting itself even in his early school sketches. From a humble start folding shirts and selling buttons behind a merchant’s counter, Lycke’s restless dreams of becoming an artist would propel him to the bustling streets of Stockholm. It was here that he first found sustenance through illustrations for magazines and satirical newspapers.
Oscar Lycke in his studio.
The painting we offer "A Norrland Valley" captures the very essence of Lycke's love for his homeland's natural beauty. Measuring 21.5 x 28.5 cm, this exquisite piece transports you to a valley, where meandering water snakes through mountains. The distant peaks take on a luscious shade of lilac-rose, their majesty contrasted by a nearby forest of spruce trees, touched with hints of green and yellow that seem to dance in the sunlight. The warm hues of a golden sky, dotted with purple clouds, encapsulate the scene, radiating a warmth that’s almost palpable.
This landscape is likely from the area around Sundsvall, his birthplace in Sweden. While small landscape paintings of this caliber are rare, this piece stands as a testament to Lycke’s dedication to his craft and his deep connection to his roots.
Despite early challenges in his career, Lycke’s eye for the northern landscapes resonated with many, aligning with the growing appreciation for Norrlandsromantiken – the Norrland romanticism.
Notably, while Lycke faced varying degrees of success in Swedish exhibitions, his talent did not go unrecognized abroad. His exhibition in New York were a resounding success, where every one of his paintings found a buyer, speaking volumes about his international appeal.
Toward the end of his life, fate dealt him a challenging hand as he grappled with near-blindness – a harsh destiny for a visual artist. Yet, his legacy endures, with works like this painting offering a glimpse into his profound love for nature and an indomitable spirit that defied every obstacle.
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