pastel crayon, paper signed and dated N.Kreuger 17 juli (July) 1904 unframed 11 x 14 cm framed 20.5 x 23 cm
Provenance: Fritzes konsthandel, Stockholm
Essay: This exquisite small pastel crayon painting by the renowned Swedish artist Nils Kreuger measuring just 11 x 14 cm. Signed and dated July 17, 1904, the artwork delicately portrays two horses at the brink of the Baltic Sea, a tranquil scene likely from the island of Öland. These equine subjects are rendered with a softness and intimacy that is characteristic of Kreuger’s work from this period. The horses, standing calmly at the water's edge, embody a pastoral stillness, possibly reflecting the timeless nature of the island itself.
Kreuger's career, after his studies at Edvard Perséus painting school and his influential Parisian period, was marked by a transition from the sensibilities of French plein air to a more synthesized, emotive style reminiscent of Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh. By the 1890s, the artist had fully embraced this new direction, evident in his depictions of the Swedish countryside, particularly Varberg and later Öland. His summers on Öland brought forth a series of works where cows and horses amidst the distinctive landscapes became his primary subjects. These animals, often set against the vast expanse of the alvar or the shallow coastal waters, were captured with an increasing lightness of touch and color following the turn of the century, as Kreuger began to incorporate the influences of Neo-Impressionism into his art. This painting is a testament to that evolution, capturing the essence of his subjects with a blend of warmth and the emerging vibrancy of his later palette. The pastoral theme and the delicate execution of the horses in their natural habitat showcase Kreuger's skill in illustrating the harmonious relationship between nature and the animals he so fondly depicted.
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