Adolph Tidemand and his Times

Askeland, Jan: Adolph Tidemann og hans tid

At the height of his career, Adolph Tidemand (1814-1876) was the most popular painter in Norway, moving from one triumph to another in European art. Tidemand’s success seems to lie in the fact that few have managed to express the ideals of his age as clearly as he did. But herein lay his misére, too. This was the very reason he became a target for the next generation, who were fighting for new ideals. It was not until a century after his death that art historians seriously began to re-evaluate this painter. Yet in spite of the subsequent shifts in fashion, his art has always held a fascination for the general public. Ordinary people have maintained a loyal admiration for this great national romantic figure in Norwegian art.

Now art historians too are beginning to reassess Adolph Tidemand’s contribution. Sympathetically and sensitively, Askeland tracks the painter from a childhood spent in the small town of Mandal, via Kristiania (Oslo) and Copenhagen, to the great artistic centres of Europe. The author also traces Tidemand’s homecomings and his wanderings, sketch-book in hand, through the Norwegian valleys. It was from here Tidemand drew the inspiration and characters for famous compositions like "Bridal Procession in Hardanger" and "The Haugians".

The book is lavishly illustrated. All the painter’s best-known and most popular works can be found here, but so too can small sketches and fine drawings which the author has discovered in the Norwegian National Gallery and other collections; pictures very few readers will have seen.

This is a beautiful and fascinating book which presents a detailed portrayal of Adolph Tidemand, the artist and the man. He was a focal point within the Norwegian national romantic movement, inspiring not only Norwegian, Swedish and German painters, but also writers like Bjørnson and Ibsen.

Jan Askeland is an art historian and has worked at the National Gallery in Oslo, the Bergen Picture Gallery and the Rasmus Meyer collections where he was director from 1966 until 1990. He is a prolific author, and has written books and a large number of articles on Norwegian art.

Publisher: H. Aschehoug & Co (W. Nygaard) 1991
ISBN: 82-03-16670-9
334 pages, hardcover

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