Museums and Art

Nikolay Astrup, paintings and biography

Nikolay Astrup, paintings and biography

For a wide audience, the name of Nikolai Astrup remains little known, but for the Norwegians his works became a national treasure. According to the stylistic direction, his work is referred to as expressionism, but attributing them to a specific genre will be wrong, because they have an extraordinary originality. Unlike another expressionist compatriot, Edward Munch, Astrup was an introvert and painted in a mood of peace and tranquility. The artist was a great colorist and landscape painter; he, like no other, managed to convey the spirit of Norwegian nature.

Nikolay Astrup was born on August 30, 1880 in the commune of Bremanger. His father was a priest and wanted his son to continue his work and serve in the church. But in 1895, after graduating from a parish school, the young man decided to leave for the city of Trondheim and enter the local classical gymnasium. There, he discovered the talent of a painter and decided to engage in self-education. Two years later, Astrup returned to his native home and became a home teacher for his brothers and sisters.

In 1899, he decided to devote himself entirely to art, for which he moved to Christiania (the modern name of Oslo), where he took lessons at a private art school. Johann Nordhagen became his teacher, which taught him how to create prints and draw nudity.

After graduation in 1901, the artist received a scholarship and went on a trip to Europe, after which he returned to Norway. Success awaited him at home - in 1905 the first exhibition of the master was held, which critics and the press enthusiastically responded, and the National Gallery acquired his painting "The Old Warehouse in Ylster." The subsequent years of Nikolai Astrup will be eventful - he will have exhibitions in Berlin, London and Copenhagen, and in Stockholm he will even meet with Prince Eugene.

Bohemian life quickly weary Astrup. He got used to a moderate life and strove for home comfort. And Engel Sunda helped him in this - a young girl from the province, whom the artist married in 1907 and later brought 8 children with her. The family began to live in the countryside, where everyone was friendly. But at this time, the master did not forget about creativity. Living near beautiful nature inspired the artist to create the best creations. He developed his own style in painting, where real landscapes are intertwined with incredible geometric shapes. In addition to colorful pastoral paintings, Astrup created a graphic workshop, which his teachers noted.

In 1919, the artist began to manifest a serious ailment, because of which he was forced to cancel his creative business trip. It turned out that Nikolai Astrup suffered from asthma and tuberculosis. In 1922, the master and his wife managed to travel to Algeria through Germany and Italy. Before returning home in 1923, the couple stopped in Paris. In 1928, the artist, tormented by disease, suddenly died. After the death of Astrup, his work was not given due attention for a long time, but over time, connoisseurs recognized his invaluable contribution to Norwegian art.


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