Odd Nerdrum Paintings

Hansen, Jan-Erik E.: Odd Nerdrum. Malerier

Since his debut in 1964, Odd Nerdrum has represented a prominent and consistent renunciation of the aesthetic of modernism in Norwegian artistic life. In contrast to the majority of Norwegian painters, who have adhered to variations of international modernism, he developed a style of painting that was distinctive in both national and international contexts.

The radicalism and strong self-awareness of Nerdrum’s painting and the various views he expressed about art were astonishing and provoking. Rather than follow the avant-garde into the future, he turned to the history of art and a lost tradition. The great names of art became his archetypes.

The radicalism of this orientation is particularly obvious in his bold use of old masters like Caravaggio and Rembrandt. Though they had a decisive effect, their influence should not be exaggerated. Nerdrum’s relationship with the history of art is very free: besides the old masters we find traces of Romanticism, historical painting, the Scandinavian Skagen school and Käthe Kollwitz’ dramatic pictures. In his latest period, we can detect references to icon painting and the art of the late Medieval period.

With more than a hundred illustrations this book provides a comprehensive introduction to Nerdrum’s work from the start of his career to the present day. The conclusions of its author, Jan-Erik Ebbestad Hansen, who is a Doctor of Philosophy and professor of the history of ideas, has succeeded in casting new light on key aspects of Nerdrum’s work. The author invites us to become better acquainted with the world of Nerdrum’s art and the impulses that typify it. Great names in the history of art as well as philosophy shed light on Nerdrum’s painings. This is a unique work about the history of art and ideas.

Publisher: H. Aschehoug & Co. (W. Nygaard) 1995
ISBN: 82-03-26037-3
346 pages, hardcover
Published in Norwegian and English

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