Axel Nordgren (1828-1888) Swedish
Setting Out in the Fjords, 1858
oil on canvas
signed and dated A. Nordgren Drf 1858
painted in Dusseldorf
canvas dimensions 24.40 x 34.64 inches (62 x 88 cm)
frame 33 x 42.91 inches (84 x 109 cm)
Axel Nordgren (1828-1888) completed his studies at the Royal Institute of Art in 1845. Although he had the opportunity to become a student at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, for unknown reasons, he did not attend. In 1849, he showcased some landscapes at an exhibition held by the Academy. However, it was the works of Norwegian artists trained in Düsseldorf that received the most acclaim. This marked the beginning of a trend for Swedish artists to study in Düsseldorf as well.
In 1851, Nordgren, along with Morten Müller, had the opportunity to travel to Düsseldorf to further their studies, with the expenses covered by Crown Prince Karl XV, who would later become the king. During his time there, his primary instructor was his fellow artist Hans Gude, whom he had first met at the exhibition in 1849. Nordgren also drew inspiration from Gude's own teacher, Andreas Achenbach, who emphasized the importance of detailed studies of nature before painting.
Although Nordgren chose to make Düsseldorf his home, he frequently undertook study trips back to Sweden and Norway, often accompanied by Gude or Müller. In 1857, he married Anna Mariane Natalie Lochen (1832-1921) and a year later, he painted the artwork titled "Setting Out in the Fjords, 1858."
This painting exemplifies Nordgren's distinctive style, depicting a scene from the Norwegian fjords. He had a profound fascination for these types of landscapes, characterized by coastlines, cliffs, serene atmospheres, and desolate areas. The painting conveys a sense of tranquility, as Nordgren did not rely on stormy weather or sunsets to create interest. Instead, he skillfully captured a summer day in Norway, portraying figures loading a fishing boat. He masterfully made the scene both beautiful and captivating in its simplicity.
Axel Nordgren received numerous medals at exhibitions and was regarded as the leading practitioner of the Düsseldorf School in Sweden. His works can be found in esteemed museum collections such as the Nationalmuseum Stockholm and the Göteborgs Art Museum.
A Swedish Private Collection