Saturday, 14 May 2016


Marsh Marigold Night, c 1915

I'm sure I wasn't the only one who had never heard of Nikolai Astrup; there isn't a single one of his paintings in any British collection, and most remain in Norway. But this exhibition - the first outside his homeland - was a complete delight. (Just one day left if you want to catch it. Sorry.)
Astrup was the sickly son of the Lutheran minister of Ålhus on the shore of a lake in remote western Norway and he grew up in the cold, damp, wooden parsonage looking out over this landscape; the window of his bedroom, where he was often confined to his bed,overlooked the graveyard where three of his siblings were buried in one week ... and yes, I thought of the Brontes, too.

The parsonage was condemned and partly demolished in 1907, but one wing remains today; it's now on my list of places I'd love to visit. 

Marsh marigolds grew on the floor of the valley, beautiful, but a sign of poverty and agricultural neglect. By 1918, the marsh marigolds had gone.

So many of Astrup's paintings look as if it's only just stopped raining.



Rhubarb, 1911
He grew 10 varieties of rhubarb, some edible, some poisonous. I made a strawberry and rhubarb crumble that evening when I got home.

March Atmosphere at Jølstravatnet (before 1908)

On the way home, I picked a big bunch of cow parsley, horse chestnut flowers and may blossom and dropped pollen all over the Tube carriage. I have jugs of lacy white flowers all over the house. 

4 comments:

Victoria B said...

I really enjoyed your post and particularly love the rhubarb painting. What a great idea to pick cow parsley etc. Why have I never done that myself? I now can't wait to go picking in the hedgerows!

mary said...

Glad you enjoyed it, Victoria. It was a lovely exhibition. Cow parsley wilts on the way home then picks up when you get it into water.

Jacqui Fenner-Dixon said...

I had not heard of this artist, but love the works featured in your post, especially March Atmosphere at Jølstravatnet.

mary said...

I don't think many people here have heard of him, Jacqui though he's well know in Norway, obviously. His woodcuts are lovely, too.