Sublime North: Romantic Painters Discover Norway

Paintings from the Collection of Asbjørn Lunde

September 7, 2017­–January 15, 2018

The Wadsworth Atheneum will present for the first time an exhibition focused on the leading figures of 19th-century Norwegian landscape painting: Christian Dahl, Thomas Fearnley, and Peder Balke. Sublime North: Romantic Painters Discover Norway will explore their awe inspiring talents as landscape painters, trail their careers across Europe and compare their works with other contemporaneous European and American artists.

Landscape painting during the Romantic era was fueled by the concept of the sublime—renewed reverence for nature and its influence on emotion and the imagination. Together with his pupils Fearnley and Balke, Dahl infused Nordic fjords, craggy mountains, and rivers with the established repertoire of Romantic motifs—rocky inlets, misty hills, and contemplating wonderers. Fearnley’s powerful scenes are distinguished by sensitive effects of light, while Balke specialized in highly dramatic seascapes that foreshadow the abstraction of Modern art. These artists experimented with open-air oil studies, which, when combined with dramatic imaginary views, produced fresh interpretations of the rough and imposing Norwegian landscape.

The exhibition will complement the Wadsworth Atheneum’s celebrated collection of landscape paintings, creating a dialogue with works of well-known artists such as Thomas Cole, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and William Turner, and highlighting the dynamic development in landscape painting during the 19th century.

Exhibition Tours

Saturdays & Sundays at 2:30pm
January 6–January 14

Exhibition Programs

September 8 | Gallery Talk
September 23-24 | Norwegian Film Weekend
November 19 | Gallery Talk
November 19 | Sunday Serenades Chamber Music Series: Strauss and the Sublime
December 2 & 3 | Norwegian Films Double Feature
January 7 | Scandinavian Composers & the String Quartet
January 12 | Gallery Talk

Exhibition Support

Supported in part by Jeffrey G. and Marcia Reid Marsted. Educational programming support provided in part by The Royal Norwegian Consulate. Support for the Wadsworth Atheneum provided in part by the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign.