Timeline

1880

ASTRUP IS BORN IN KALVÅG, BREMANGER

Born 30 August in Kalvåg in the Bremanger Municipality, Sogn og Fjordane county, western Norway, the eldest son of the Lutheran pastor Christian Astrup (1844 - 1920) and his wife Petra Constanse (née Lodtz; 1860 - 1930).
1883

THE FAMILY MOVES TO ÅLHUS IN JØLSTER

The Astrup family moves to Ålhus on the northern side of Jølstravatnet, Sogn og Fjordane county, on his father's appointment as pastor. The parsonage is in a poor state of repair.
Map over Jølster

ASTRUP SUFFERS FROM RESPIRATORY ILLNESS

From an early age Astrup suffers from weak lungs and severe bouts of asthma. His drawings and sketches are collected in Scrapbooks. Childhood memory is from the beginning a bedrock of Astrup's art.
A group of drawings on a scrapbook page from 'Childhood and Adolescent Drawings', 1890 - 1904. The Savings Bank Foundation DNB / KODE Art Museums of Bergen
1895
Old woman with lantern, before 1899, oil on canvas from a trouser-leg, 22 x 37 cm. The Savings Bank Foundation DNB / KODE Art Museums of Bergen

ASTRUP IS SENT TO THE CATHEDRAL SCHOOL IN TRONDHEIM

Astrup is sent to the cathedral school in Trondheim, with a view to a possible career in the Church.
The Cathedral School in Trondheim
1897

RETURNS TO THE FAMILY IN ÅLHUS

Following poor results in his Latin exam he returns to the family home in Ålhus, where he tutors his younger siblings and makes designs for wall hangings woven by his mother. His determination to become a professional artist puts him in conflict with his father.
1899

STUDIES ART IN KRISTIANIA

Astrup is finally granted permission to study art in Kristiania (Oslo). He arrives in the autumn and briefly attends the Royal School of Drawing (Kongelige tegneskole) before entering Harriet Backer's (1845 - 1932) private art school (founded 1890). He studies from the life model, works in oil and makes his first etchings.
Olaves is one of Astrup's first oil paintings. Olaves, ca. 1900, oil on canvas, 31 x 28 cm. The Savings Bank Foundation DNB / KODE Art Museums of Bergen
1901

VISITS MUSEUMS IN GERMANY

Astrup receives a grant from Olaf Schou (1861 - 1925) enabling him to travel to Germany in November. He visits the major museums in Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden and Munich, especially admiring the work of the Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin (1827 - 1901). He arrives in Paris just before Christmas.

Astrup on Böcklin

It seems to me at the moment that there is no artist I understand as well as him, but maybe Arnold Böcklin is also easy for everyone to understand ... what is most exciting about his pictures is their unexpectedness, a moment that sends a shiver down one's spine, and yet one can enjoy the sight of them for a long time afterwards.
1902

STUDIES ART IN PARIS

Astrup enters the Académie Colarossi, an independent art school in Paris; he trains with the Norwegian artist Christian Krohg (1852 - 1925). He visits museums and temporary exhibitions; at the Salon des indépendants he is impressed by the works of Maurice Denis (1870 - 1943) and Henri "le Douanier" Rousseau (1844 - 1910). He also encounters Japanese ukiyo-e woodcuts and develops his interest in photography; he buys a camera and visits a professional photographer to have his portrait taken. His experience in Paris persuades him of the exceptional nature of his native western Norwegian landscape. In May he determines to return to Jølster to pursue his artistic vocation there, arriving in time for Constitution Day (17 May).
Portrait of Nikolai Astrup, 1901-2. Unknown photographer

Astrup on Rousseau

[Henri Rousseau] did not care a damn for all the 'fripperies' that neo-impressionism mainly consisted of in his day and created something really new in art: 'abstraction'. He thus became the 'father' of each and every 'ism'.
1904

MAKES HIS FIRST WOODCUTS

Makes his first woodcuts, including Small Self-Portrait.
Small Self-Portrait, woodcut on paper, 1904. The Savings Bank Foundation DNB / KODE Art Museums of Bergen

A NEW PARSONAGE IS COMPLETED IN ÅLHUS

1905

FIRST SOLO EXHIBITION

In April Astrup has his first solo exhibition at Blomqvist's Auction House and Gallery (Blomqvist's Kunsthandel), Kristiania, to critical acclaim; he sells many works. The painter Eilif Peterssen (1852 - 1928) is instrumental in acquiring Storehouse in Jølster for the National Gallery in Kristiania. 26 October, Norway gains its independence from Sweden.
Storehouse in Jølster, before 1905, oil on canvas, 66 x 99 cm. Exh.: 1905 Kristiania; 1928 Bergen; 1928 Oslo. The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo
1906

ASTRUP IS RECOGNISED AS A PROMISING YOUNG ARTIST

September to November, Astrup is in a group exhibition of Norwegian art at Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; he is recognised as one of the most promising artists of the younger generation.
Barren Mountain (Kollen), 1905-1906, oil on canvas, 100,2 x 120,3 cm. Exh.: 1908 Bergen; 1911 Kristiania, 1912 Vienna; 1914 Kristiania II; 1915 Copenhagen; 1928 Bergen; 1928 Oslo. KODE Art Museums of Bergen
1907

ASTRUP AND ENGEL GETS MARRIED

On 23 December Astrup marries Engel Sunde (1892 - 1966), a fifteen-year old girl from Jølster.
Nikolai and Engel Astrup, after 1912. Photo: Olivia Flølo

THE OLD PARSONAGE IS CONDEMNED AS INSANITARY

The old parsonage at Ålhus has been condemned as insanitary; Astrup makes a photographic record before its demolition in 1907.
The Old Parsonage at Ålhus, 1907. Photo: Nikolai Astrup
1908

ASTRUP TRAVELS TO LONDON

Supported by a Henrichsen bursary, Astrup travels to London in late January, staying until early May; he visits the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate Gallery.

Astrup on Constable

I was in London. I wanted to go and see Constable, who painted ... a similar nature to that of western Norway. I think he is the first landscape painter who understood landscape in colours. After all, Millet and even Professor [J.C.] Dahl were strongly influenced by him.  Astrup, 1911  

SECOND SOLO EXHIBITION

In May his second solo exhibition is held at the Bergen Art Association (Kunstforeningen i Bergen); it is well received and Astrup sells works to collectors, including Rasmus Meyer (1885 - 1916).
Spring Night in the Garden, 1903, oil on canvas, 72,5 x 98 cm. Exh.: 1908 Bergen; 1911 Kristiania; 1915 Copenhagen; 1928 Bergen; 1928 Oslo. Private collection
1911

THIRD SOLO EXHIBITION

January to February, Astrup's third solo exhibition at the Artists' Association (Kunstnerforbundet), Kristiania.

STUDIES ART IN BERLIN

Although there are good reviews of his last exhibition, Astrup feels the need for renewed stimulus. Supported by a Houen travelling scholarship, he goes to Berlin, briefly entering a private art school and visiting galleries and temporary exhibitions, especially the XXII Berlin Secession, where he is impressed by the paintings of Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954) and the proto-expressionists Max Slevogt (1868 - 1932) and Lovis Corinth (1858 - 1925).
Folkestad portraits Astrup in costume after having participated in a performance presented by an avant-garde Russian dance-cum-marionette ensemble. Bernhard Folkestad, Portrait of Nikolai Astrup, ca. 1911, oil on canvas, 120 x 90 cm. The Savings Bank Foundation DNB / KODE Art Museums of Bergen

EXHIBITION IN HELSINKI

February to March, he is included in an exhibition of Norwegian art at the Ateneum, Helsinki.

THE FAMILY MOVES TO MYKLEBUST

Astrup's first child, a daughter, Kari, is born. He and Engel decide to move to Myklebust on the south side of Jølstravatnet.
1912

MOVES TO SANDALSTRAND (ASTRUPTUNET)

Problems arise with the landlord of their house in Myklebust, forcing Astrup to move three kilometres along the lake to Sandalstrand (Astruptunet), to a smallholding that he had acquired in 1912. He begins the ambitious project of constructing accommodation, a garden and a subsistence farm. He continues to work in the studio at Myklebust.

EXHIBITION OF NORWEGIAN ART IN VIENNA

January to February, his work is shown in an exhibition of Norwegian art at the Hagenbund, an exhibiting body set up, like the Vienna Secession, by a body of artists in opposition to the Academy, remained somewhat overshadowed by the more renowned Secession.
1913

ASTRUP FURTHER DEVELOPS THE PROPERTY OF SANDALSTRAND

1914

ASTRUP IS INCLUDED IN THE JUBILEE EXHIBITION IN KRISTIANIA

His paintings is included in the Jubilæumsutstillingen (Jubilee Exhibition) in Kristiania, marking the centenary of the Norwegian constitution (and independence from Denmark).

ASTRUP DEVOTES HIMSELF MORE EMPHATICALLY TO THE MAKING OF HIS WOODCUTS

ASTRUP NAMES HIS FIRST SON ARNOLD BÖCKLIN

Astrup's first son is born; he is named after the Swiss artist Arnold Böcklin.
1915

ASTRUP'S WORK SHOWN IN GOTHENBORG, COPENHAGEN AND SAN FRANCISCO

His work is included in exhibitions in Gothenborg and Copenhagen, and in the Norwegian section of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco.
Marsh Marigold Night, ca. 1915, colour woodcut on paper
1916

VISITS STOCKHOLM AND COPENHAGEN

In the autumn Astrup travels with the Bergen artists Moritz Kaland (1869 - 1947) and Nils Krantz (1886 - 1954) to Stockholm and Copenhagen to study modern French, Danish and Swedish art.

SANDALSTRAND IS TRANSFORMED

At Sandalstrand he radically transforms the original dwelling on the site into accommodation for his growing family and a studio; progress is delayed due to financial difficulties.
1917

ASTRUP SUBSCRIBES TO THE AVANT-GARDE PERIODICAL KLINGEN (THE BLADE)

He subscribes to the Danish avant-garde periodical Klingen. The publication keeps him abreast of international developments in contemporary art and encourages him to view his woodcuts as works of art in their own right.
1918

FIRST EXHIBITION OF WOODCUTS

In May Astrup holds his first exhibition of woodcuts at the Artists' Association, Kristiania, selling primarily to close friends and acquaintances.
Spring Night and Willow, 1917 / after 1920, colour woodcut on paper
Midsummer Eve Bonfire, after 1917, colour woodcut on paper
1919

HAS TO POSTPONE TRAVEL ABROAD DUE TO POOR HEALTH AND PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Astrup receives a travel grant from the Conrad Mohr Foundation but has to postpone travel abroad due to poor health and personal circumstances. Greatly discouraged, he considers emigrating to the United States.

ASTRUP CONSIDERS STUDYING WITH KANDINSKY

Having received from his great friend the writer Hans E. Kinck (1865 - 1926) a copy of Wassily Kandinsky's (1866 - 1944) Über das Geistige in der Kunst (Concerning the Spiritual in Art), first published in German in 1911, Astrup considers travelling to Munich to meet and study with the Russian abstract artist and his circle.

Astrup on Kandinsky

I would like to study the abstract painters a little more closely - Kandinsky and the other Russians;- basically they interest me more than the French - Picasso and Matisse, - although I would really like to have a French painter such as Le Fauconnier as a teacher ... he is rather more than cubist and expressionist - but as I speak virtually no French, I will probably gain more benefit from studying in Munich under one of the German-Russian painters of the same school. (Astrup to Isabella Høst, 1919)
1920

EXHIBITION OF WOODCUTS

In February Astrup exhibits prints with the Bergen Art Association.

ASTRUP ENJOYS THE DEVELOPMENTS AT SANDALSTRAND

He becomes increasingly positive about both his art and the developments at Sandalstrand, and begins to make paintings based upon the landscaping of his property.

Astrup on Sandalstrand

Tonight I planted a big apple tree above the new turf terrace and I sat for a long time in the dusk contemplating 'the work of my hands', and I felt I was gradually beginning to grow fond of the place (Astrup to Per Kramer, 1920)
Apple Tree in Bloom, after ca. 1920
Engel and Nikolaï Astrup in the garden of Sandalstrand, 1920s. Unknown photographer
1922

ASTRUP EXHIBITS PAINTINGS IN BERGEN

In March 1922 Astrup exhibits paintings in an exhibition of western Norwegian artists at the Bergen Art Association.

ASTRUP AND ENGEL TRAVELS THROUGH EUROPE TO NORTH AFRICA

For health reasons Astrup travels with Engel to North Africa via Germany, Austria and Italy, eventually staying in Tunis and Algiers where their sixth child, Peder Alger Conrad, is born.
Algiers, 1923, Pastel on paper, 65,5 x 50,8
1926

ASTRUP EXHIBITS PAINTINGS IN BERGEN

Astrup exhibits paintings in the annual exhibition of western Norwegian artists at the Bergen Art Association.
Early Snow, 1926 - 1927, oil on canvas. Exh.: 1928 Bergen, 1928 Oslo

ENGEL BECOMES A CELEBRATED TEXTILE DESIGNER

Engel gives birth to Nikolai Egil, the last of their eight children. Engel becomes increasingly engaged with traditional arts and crafts, particularly textiles. Engel, who survives Astrup by thirty-eight years, raises the eight children, becomes a celebrated textile designer and maker and maintains the garden and buildings at Sandalstrand.
1928

ASTRUP DIES ON 21 JANUARY

Weakened by tuberculosis and pneumonia, Astrup dies in Førde on 21 January. From Ooctober to December the Art Association in Bergen and Artists' Association in Oslo (formerly Kristiania) celebrate Astrup's life and work in a grand memorial exhibition held in both cities.
Nikolai Astrup's funeral, 1928. Photo: Johannes T. Øvrebø

MEMORIAL EXHIBITION

A grand, comprehensive memorial exhibition of his work was shown successively in the Bergen Art Association and the Oslo Artists Association between October and December.
1965

SANDALSTRAND IS SOLD TO THE JØLSTER MUNICIPALITY

Sandalstrand is sold to the Jølster Municipality, in memory of Nikolai Astrup.
1966

ENGEL ASTRUP DIES

1986

ASTRUPTUNET IS OPENED AS A MUSEUM

Astruptunet, the dwellings and gardens created by Nikolai Astrup, is officially opened to the public as a museum.

Nikolai Astrup