Letter

Astrup, Nikolai to Høst, Isabella
1914-05 - 1914-06

Translation:

Francesca Nichols

Page

  • 1,
  • 2,
  • 3,
  • 4
Transcription
Translation

Letter

Astrup, Nikolai to Høst, Isabella
1914-05 - 1914-06
Brevs.531-66399, Nasjonalbiblioteket

4 Pages

Translation: Francesca Nichols

Transcription

Kjære frù Höst!

Tak for hjælpen – det var hurtigere end jeg havde ventet at

faa sælge træsnit. – De maa ùndskylde at jeg sendte dem

i to portioner – den förste gang glemte jeg rent den ene bùnke

med farvetræsnit; saa det först, da posten var gaaet – og da

var der 3 dage til næste post, – sidste gang glemte jeg ogsaa et

tryk. (doublet til martzstemningen). Det er ikke saa ùnder-

lig, om jeg blir glemsom om dagene, thi jeg har nù i snart en

maaned ikke sovet andet (en time eller to pr. dögn i en stol

eller siddende ude) tör ikke lægge mig – kvæles öieblikkelig – jeg

har gaaet optil 4 dögn uden at sove – selv i siddende stilling; – 

saa gaar jeg og vandrer frem og tilbage mellom mine to hjem

i disse lyse nætter og raver som en drùkken mand tiltrods 

for, at jeg ikke har smagt en dram paa snart 2 aar – sætter mig

saa kanske paa en sten og sovner – og vaagner om en stùnd enten

af frost eller kvælning, saa gaar jeg og studerer paa disse motivene

som jeg ikke har malet, hvorledes jeg skal gribe dem an og

faar bare hodet fuldt af billeder – gaar saa hjem og arbeider

paa jorden i fuldt sinne, hvis ikke kvælningen hindrer mig  

formeget – men jeg er ofte ganske meget træt – drikker

saa en masse sterk kaffe (afholder mig ganske fra alkohol).

Har nù faaet det lille nye hùs istand nogenlunde – Engel og börnene

er flyttet ind og har nù sol og den deiligste udsigt.

Jeg arbeider ganske meget – naar kvælningen ikke er for slem – 

mine naboer, som stadig venter min död – som ravner paa et

aadsel – (de vil gjerne have tag i den lille gaarden min) de 

er forbaùsede over min seiglivethed, – og tror at det maa 

være «den onde», som hjælper mig til at holde ùd slik med ar-

II

beide baade dag og nat, tiltrods for den stadige kvælning, der

kan vare over et dögn, – saa jeg ofte tror det er rent forbi, – det

tror ogsaa alle som ser mig; thi jeg blir rent blaa i ansigtet

ofte – men saa snart det er over – er det ud igjen og bryde op

en sten eller lign. og da arbeider jeg som sagt i fuldt «sinne» –

indtil næste anfald – kunde jeg bare male paa samme maade – 

jeg har nok forsögt det – men da maler jeg over alt hvad

jeg för har anlagt – og det blir bare et nyt anlæg. Saa kommer 

trætheden igjen og alt blir saa forfærdelig trist – alle bekymrin-

gerne kommer i flok og fölge – nervösiteten er spillemand – saa 

kommer en og anden liden ubehagelighed fra ùdenverdenen – en

bagtalelse og lign. – jeg griber det som en lynafleder og dette

holder siden tankerne til fange hele natten, medens jeg vandrer.

Nù sidst var det fra et hold, som jeg mindst af alt ventede:

Jeg skal fortælle Dem det – men lad det ikke komme videre, förend jeg

faar sikker greie paa sagen: Thùnold gaar i Kristiania og for-

tæller folk, at jeg driver den trafik at male gode billeder til

udstillingerne for renoméets skyld, og saa maler jeg daarlige

billeder i mellomtiden og sælger ùnderhaand til folk, der 

blindt stoler paa mit gode navn – Jeg vil skrive til Øde-

gaard og spörge ham, om det er sandt, – den person jeg har det

fra, hörte at Thunold sagde dette til nogle personer – deriblandt 

var Ødegaard. Jeg har ikke fortjent sligt af Thùnold, desùden er

det lögn – jeg har solgt ùnderhaand meget lidet, – og det er de

to billeder til Rasmus Meyer, – og saa det, som De har solgt

for mig, ellers intet med ùndtagelse af det som apothekeren

har faaet for medicin – men det har Thunold ikke seet og 

rent daarlige, var de nù heller ikke, – der er et eneste billede, som

her kan være tale om – lad dette være mellom os – jeg liter ikke

III

paa nogen andre længer – Som De veed, gik jeg i hele fjor

sommer ùden er öre i lommen – jeg havde 10 kr. lidt för St.

Hans og tænkte at ha disse som en nödskilling – saa skriver

Korsvold et brev til mig – jeg maa gjöre hvad jeg kan for at

skaffe ham 120 kr. ellers er han fortabt – jeg skyldte ham

intet intet – han skyldte mig lidt ùbetydeligt. Han havde 

været nödsaget til at laane af principalens kasse og kunde

ikke dække det hele, revisionen stod for dören – der var ingen

tid at spilde. Jeg roede i hast ind til min ven skolelærer Fond,

han havde ingen kontanter, næste bankdag kùnde han faa

forskud paa sin lönning, men det blev for sent at vente saa 

længe – jeg roede rùndt til alle, som muligens kùnde laane – men

alt forgjæves – posten skulde gaa igjen om et par timer – jeg

tænkte – op og ned for at redde en gammel god ven – rodde saa

ind til mit atteliere og grov gjennem en bùnke gamle skisser,

fandt en fra Haave i Sogn – et godt motiv – men bare en

lös skisse, som jeg aldrig vilde solgt ùnder almindelige om-

stændigheder, eller om jeg selv havde været i nöd – det var kùn

en skisse for at erindre motivet, da jeg tænkte at male et större

billede derfra senere. Dette billede pakkede jeg ind sammen med

de 10 kr. jeg havde og sendte i samme post pr. Ilpost og skrev, at hvad han 

kunde bruge ud af det, var hans eiendom. Korsvold gik straks til

Halvorsen (han som gav 10 000 til forsvaret) og han var meget be-

geistret for det ubetydelige billede, som han syntes «var det bedste

han havde seet af Astrup». Korsvold fik saaledes straks 150 kr og var reddet.

Dette har jeg nù betroet Dem under taùshed. Muligens har nù

Korsvold fortalt Tunold dette, eller Thunold har seet billedet hos

Halvorsen – eller andre har seet og talt om det – noget andet daar-

ligt billede er ikke solgt ùnderhaand af mig. Pigen ved træet, som

Kollen og selvportræt 2 finder jeg ikke saa gode at jeg vilde sende dem.

Skal skjære lide om igjen og sender da nogen til Dem. Liker De og Deres datter

martzstemningen og den gamle mandsakt? Isaafald skal jeg sende Eder disse.

De var saa venlig at sælge for mig havde jo været paa min 

udstilling i Kristiania, hvad Thùnold godt veed, desuden be<un->

drede han det ligeoverfor mig – men kanske han mente noget

andet, naar han talte med andre. Der er en klik i Bergen

som ikke taaler godt mit venskab med Eder – de har

talt ondt om Eder overfor mig og har vel gjort det sam-

me om mig overfor Eder. Jeg lùgter straks lùnten – det

var den sùreste misùndelse – fordi I har hjulpet mig saa

meget. Jeg tænker paa Thùnolds snak – træsnittene kan han 

dog vel ikke mene, – de har jo været udstillede, forinden et 

eneste var solgt; – desuden var han meget begeistret over dem 

og fik vælge ud en hel serie; – (den serie som Krantz fik

brændte op med to af mine billeder – det ene havde ikke været

udstillet). Krantz fik for 4–5 aar siden lov at sælge dem paa samme maade

som Korsvold, men beholdt dem hellere selv – og som De vel

har hört, brændte det hos ham paa Damsgaard – kanske Thùn-

old tænker paa disse 2 billeder med sit snak; – at de ikke var saa 

rent daarlige, beviser den omstændighed, at Krantz godt kunde have

«vendt dem i penge», men foretrak at have dem selv paa sin vægg

trods megen fattigdom. Jeg fik brev igaar fra Korsvold, han 

vil kjöbe træsnit af mig, havde talt med Dem – jeg faar vel

ved leilighet lave ham en serie, – nù orker jeg ikke, – jeg vil ikke

tage en öre af ham, – han har det vondt nok; saa vilde han

skaffe mig farver gjennem Stensaker (en fælles ven) men jeg vil

halst forsöge at klare mig uden hans hjælp, venskabet og bekjendt-

skabet er for nyt – jeg blev först kjendt med ham Stensaker nù i vaar. Jeg

begynder at blive mistænksom overfor venner. Korsvold er jeg dog

tryg paa endnù nogenlùnde – vilde i allefald gjerne være det. Snart har jeg vel

ingen andre igjen end Eder, som jeg stadig er til plage for. Saa atter en

tak. Den bedste hilsen fra Engel og Eders hengivne N. Astrup

Translation

Dear Mrs. Höst!

Thank you for Your help – it takes less time than I had expected 

to sell woodcuts. – You must forgive me for sending them

in two portions – the first time I totally forgot one of the stacks

of colour woodcuts; I saw it, only after the postman had left – and then

it was 3 days until the next postal sending, – the last time I also forgot a

print. (the doublet of March Atmosphere). It is not so remark-

able, if I am forgetful nowadays, for I have not slept for

nearly a month now more (one hour or two per twenty-four in a chair

or sitting outdoors) do not dare lay down – become immediately suffocated – I

have gone up to 4 days without sleep – even in a sitting position; – 

so I walk back and forth between my two homes

during these white nights and rave like a drunken man despite 

the fact, that I have not tasted a dram in almost 2 years – sit

down perhaps on a stone and fall asleep – and awaken after a while either

from frost or suffocation, then I walk about studying these motifs

that I have not painted, how I shall approach them and

my head becomes filled with pictures – then go home and work

the soil in a rage, if the suffocation does not impede me  

too much – but I am often exceedingly tired – therefore drink

a great deal of strong coffee (abstain pretty much from alcohol).

Have now gotten the little new cabin somewhat in order – Engel and the children

 have moved in and now have sun and the loveliest view.

I work quite a lot – when the suffocation is not too brutal – 

my neighbours, who are awaiting my death – like ravens on

carrion – (they wish to get hold of my little farm) they 

are amazed by my stamina, – and believe it must 

be “the devil” that helps me to endure in this way work-

II

ing both day and night, despite repeated choking fits, which

can last for more than a day, – so that I often believe that it’s all over, – everyone

who sees me also believes it; because I become quite blue in the face

frequently – but as soon as it has passed – it’s back to work again breaking up

a rock or the likes and then as I mentioned I work in a “rage” –

until the next attack – if only I could paint in the same manner – 

I have made attempts – but then I paint over the

preliminary drawing I have made – and the result is just a new preliminary drawing. Then the  

fatigue returns and everything becomes so terribly sad– all the wor-

ries arrive all in a row – anxiety is the fiddler – then 

some little unpleasantness or another from the outside world arrives – some

slander or the like – I grasp it like a lightning rod and this

holds the thoughts captive the whole night long, as I wander about.

The last time it came from a source, which I least of all expected:

I will tell You about it – but do not pass it on, until I

I have gotten reliable confirmation of the matter: Thùnold goes about Kristiania tel-

ling people, that I make a trade of painting good pictures for

the exhibitions for the sake of my reputation, and then I paint inferior

pictures in between and sell them privately to people, who 

have blind trust in my good name – I will write to Øde-

gaard and ask him, if it is true, – the person I have it

from, heard that Thunold told this to several persons – among them 

was Ødegaard. I do not deserve such [treatment] from Thùnold, and besides it

is a lie – I have sold very little privately, – and that is the

two pictures to Rasmus Meyer, – and then those, which You have sold

for me, otherwise nothing with the exception of what the pharmacist

has received for medicine – but these Thunold has not seen and 

they were not directly inferior either, – there is one single picture, which

may be relevant here – let this remain between us – I do not trust

III

anyone else any longer – As You know, I went about all of last

summer without an öre in my pocket – I had 10 kr. just before Midsummer

Eve and planned to have it as emergency cash – then

Korsvold writes a letter to me – I must do what I can to 

obtain 120 kr. for him or else he will be doomed – I owed him

nothing nothing – he owed me a little insignificant sum. He had 

been forced to borrow from his employer’s cashbox and was not

able to cover the whole sum, an audit was pending – there was no

time to lose. I rowed in haste to my friend the schoolteacher Fond,

he did not have any cash, the next bank day he could obtain an

advance on his paycheck, but it would be too late to wait so 

long – I rowed around to everyone, who might possibly lend something – but

all in vain – the postman would be leaving again in a couple of hours – I

thought – of every possible recourse to rescue an old friend – rowed thereafter

in to my studio and waded through a stack of old sketches,

found one from Haave in Sogn – a good motif – but only a 

loose sketch, which I would never have sold under ordinary cir-

cumstances, or if I had been in need myself – it was merely

a sketch to remember the motif, as I planned to paint a large

picture from there later. This picture I packed together with

the 10 kr. I had and sent it in the same postal sending by Express mail and wrote, that whatever he 

could get out of it, was his property. Korsvold went straight to

Halvorsen (the man who gave 10 000 to the armed forces) and he was very en-

thusiastic about the insignificant picture, which he thought “was the best

he had seen by Astrup”. Korsvold thus received 150 kr straightaway and was rescued.

This I have now confided in You in confidence. It is possible that 

Korsvold has since told Thunold about this, or that Thunold has seen the picture at

Halvorsen’s – or that others have seen and spoken about it – no other infer-

ior picture has been sold privately by me. The girl by the tree, which

Barren Mountain and self-portrait 2 I do not think are so good that I wished to send them.

Will carve a few over again and then send some to You. Do You and Your daughter

like March Atmosphere and the old male nude? In that case I will send You these.

You were so kind as to sell for me had been in my 

exhibition in Kristiania, which Thùnold well knows, besides he <ad-

mired> it in front of me – but perhaps he expressed something

else, when he spoke with others. There is a clique in Bergen

who do not suffer lightly my friendship with You – they have

said bad things about You to me and have most likely said some-

thing similar about me to You. I can smell the fuse immediately – it

was the most bitter envy – because You have helped me so

much. I am thinking about Thùnold’s talk – he cannot have 

meant the woodcuts, – they have been exhibited before one 

single one was sold; – besides he was very enthusiastic about them 

and was able to select a whole series; – (the series that Krantz had

burned with two of my pictures – one of which had not been

exhibited). Krantz received 4–5 years ago permission to sell them in the same way

as Korsvold, but preferred to keep them himself – and as You

have heard, a fire broke out in his place in Damsgaard – Perhaps Thùn-

old has in mind these 2 pictures when spreading his gossip; – that they were so 

terribly inferior, is disproven by the circumstance, that Krantz might well have

“exchanged them for money”, but preferred to have them on his own wall

despite considerable poverty. I received a letter yesterday from Korsvold, he 

wants to purchase woodcuts by me, had spoken with You – I will have to

make a series for him in due time, – Now I don’t have the strength, – I will not

take an öre from him, – he has it bad enough; and so he wanted 

get hold of paints for me through Stensaker (a common friend) but I would

prefer to try and manage on my own without his help, the friendship and acquain-

tanceship is too new – I first got to know him Stensaker just this spring. I

have begun to be distrustful of friends. Korsvold I am nevertheless 

still somewhat trustful of – at least I would like to be. Soon I will have

no one else left but You, towards whom I am a continuous nuisance. And so again 

thank you. Very best wishes from Engel and Your devoted N. Astrup