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Peder Balke Norwegian

Not on view

The precise circumstances of this bravura painting’s genesis remain unknown, but the exceptionally fine rendering of the details and the use of blue for the sky in addition to black for the rest of the picture suggest that it was a transitional work, produced prior to Balke’s all-black paintings of the 1870s. These qualities may help to explain why it remained with Balke’s family after he died in 1887, and also why it was lent to the 1914 Jubilee Exhibition celebrating the centennial of Norway’s constitution, an event that would initiate the artist’s rediscovery. By then, artistic trends from Paris and other European cities would make works like this one appear to some viewers as precursors of modernism.

Seascape, Peder Balke (Norwegian, Helgøya, Nes 1804–1887 Oslo (Kristiania)), Oil on canvas, mounted on cardboard

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