Letter

Astrup, Nikolai to Høst, Isabella
1911-06-18

Transcription:

Turid Hagelsteen

Translation:

Francesca Nichols

Page

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Transcription
Translation

Letter

Astrup, Nikolai to Høst, Isabella
1911-06-18
Brevs.531-67505, Nasjonalbiblioteket

21 Pages

Transcription: Turid Hagelsteen

Translation: Francesca Nichols

Transcription

Aalhùs 18de jùni 1911

Kjære frù Höst!

Jeg skal i hast skrive lidt og takke Dem 

tusinde gange for Deres tvende breve og

for, at De vil have saa meget bryderi for min 

skyld med fotografering af mine billeder og med

Kinck’s artikkel, som jeg kan tænke mig, at De

har stor andel i – fotograferingen haaber jeg, at jeg

faar regning paa iallefald. – Titlerne, som De skriver

om, tör jeg bede Dem sætte, som De synes bedst – 

jeg kan jo gjöre nogen forslag. Træsnitterne er vel

ikke egnede til reproduction – det förste at dem

det med det blomstrende æbletræ (det störste) maa

vel hede: "Jùninat i Jölster" (1909)? –, det andet

i störrelse hùsker jeg ikke om De har – "Mai maane" (1908)

kanske det kunde kaldes? "Nat ved fossen" (1907)

passer kanske for det tredie?

"Skyggesiden" (1905) kan jo hede som i katalogen fra

Bergen: "Fra skyggesiden af Jölsters præstegaard".

Aqùarellen veed jeg ikke, hvad jeg skal kalde – 

"Den förste mainat" (1907) gaar det an?

Frk. Ingers billede: "Jùninat og blomstrende trær (1906)

"Robert Vik" – "mainat i haven" (1903) i modsætning til 

"skissen" som kanske kùnde kaldes "juninat i haven" 1905

det förste er nemlig malt lidt tidligere om vaaren end

det andet.

Det er saa vanskeligt at finde titler til billeder 

af beslægtede motiver – med mine billeder vil det

saa let blive de samme navne op igjen – 

man kan jo ikke i det uendelige kalde billeder-

ne: "Vaarnat", "jùninat," eller "sommernat."

Frk. Kamstrup og jeg havde ogsaa adskilligt 

besvær med at finde nye titler – og det var jo

höist nödvændigt paa en ùdstilling, at hvert

billede havde sin egen tittel.

  Tak for Deres hilsen fra frk. Backer det

var meget hyggeligt at höre, hvad hùn sag-

de om mig – jeg tror nù, at det maa være lögn

hvad man har fortalt mig, at hùn skùlde

have sagt om mig engang. Det var nemlig

saa skammeligt, at jeg ikke er istand til at

gjentage det selv for saa gode venner som Eder.

Det nederdrægtigste ved ved historien var, at den gamle

gùle jomfrù (som frk. Backer skùlde have udtalt 

sig til i en jernbanekupè) – benyttede sig af 

frk. Backers angivelige ùdtalelse for at

skade min broder Peter, da han blev forlovet med

sin nùværende kone; det æddergùle skind

skùlde skulde overbevise hendes familie om,

hvilken daarlig familie Peter var af – og nævnte da

blandt andre hans "berygtede" broder maleren, som

hùn kjendte gjennem frk. Backer.

Det er mærkeligt, at man aldrig skal faa have

sit private liv i fred for lögn og bagvaskelse.

Jeg traf frk. Backer i Kristiania paa telegraf-

stationen, den dag jeg skùlde reise til ùdlandet,

men jeg orkede ikke at spörge hende, om der var

nogen somhelst grùnd for, hvad hùn skùlde sagt om

mig. Slige gamle hexe veed altid at lave en

historie saa svinsk, at de veed sig sikker for at

man kvier sig for at repetere den.

Nù har jeg imidlertid faaet greie paa, hvem

som er ophavsmændene til de skammelige

historier om mit "private liv", de historier

som fratog mig det stipendiùm – som jeg vir-

kelig kùnde havt stort ùdbytte af – det stipen-

diùm fik man jo paa rimelige vilkaar – 900 kr. ad

gangen – jeg skùlde jo dengang reise ned til 

Italien og træffe Kinck (vi korespondere der-

om, da jeg var i London). Jeg ærgrer mig endnù

over den historie. Karsten kan jeg tilgive det,

fordi han gjorde det for sin egen skyld – for selv

at faa stipendiet – ogsaa fordi han er en god

kùnstner. – Axel Maùrer kommer nok

Kinck engang til at hevne sig paa – ligesom 

han gjorde med Bernt Lie – men dette mellem 

os. Men den, som jeg særlig skal have i "kjærlig"

erindring, er min forhenværende gode ven og 

kollega, som "solgte" mig for at vinde Karstens

gùnst – eller rettere som löi og bagtalte mig

paa höiere hold til fordel for Karsten, – fordi

han frygtede Karstens ondskabsfùlde tùnge, der

trùede med at negligere ham, som den hùmbùg-

mager han er i kùnsten – denne kollega og 

forhenværende ven skal jeg hùske.

Jeg kan gjerne fortælle Eder hvem det er, thi

jeg har fùld tillid til Eder; – jeg vilde jo nödig,

at folk flest skùlde have kjendskab til mit

sindelag overfor ham – for det tilfældes skyld, 

at jeg engang skùlde komme ham for nær i

en "glad" stund. – Det er altsaa Arne Kavli,

som for sex aar siden stadig sögte at vise mig

sit venskabelige sindelag og sin beùndring, –

han tog endog folk med sig op paa mit atteli-

ere, for at de skùlde se mine billeder – særlig

var han dengang meget begeistret for billedet

"Robert Vik" (den ene vaarnatten), som han sagde

"var noget helt nyt i kùnsten." 

Nù iaar gjorde man forresten det samme

med Nils Dahl – som man dengang gjorde med

mig; – ja Dere har natùrligvis i Bergen fulgt

bedre med end jeg, og kjender derfor bedre den 

voldsomme protest fra næsten alle norske

kùnstnere i anledning Nils Dahls fratagelse

af stipendiet – det samme stipendiùm som

blev frataget mig nemlig "Henrichsens legat".

Forskjellen er kùn, at dengang man fratog mig

det, var der ingen som protesterede.

Stakkars Nils Dahl – den stille – snille og

skikkelige gùtten, som ikke engang drikker en

dram – jeg veed nù, hvorledes det föles at blive

frataget et godt stipendiùm – især naar man 

som jeg samtidig skal vanæres paa sit gode

navn og rygte; – et fillestipendiùm som 

Hoùens legat er det næsten bedre ikke at

faa end at faa; thi det er jo den rene lands-

forvisning paa sùltefoder; – havde jeg vidst i

hvilke knappe rationer, det blir tildelt, skùlde

jeg aldrig sögt det – 200 kr. pr. maaned, er der mening 

i det –? hvis det ikke blir mig frataget, kommer

jeg til at blive nogle aar ældre, för jeg faar det

opbrùgt; thi jeg maa jo tjene penge i mellem-

tiden mellom hver ration – skal jeg kùnne bruge

det.

Rasmùs Meyer kjöber vel neppe noget af mig 

i den nærmeste fremtid, – jeg har jo rent ùfor-

skyldt faaet O. J. Larsen til fiende og (saavidt

jeg kunde forstaa) hans ven Rusti ogsaa – og disse

to (iallefald den sidste) har jo megen indflydelse

paa Rasmùs Meyer. Rùsti forstaar jeg mig for-

resten ikke mere paa – naar han kan anbefale

indkjöbt til galleriet et saa slet billede som 

Thorbjörnsens asper i jùgend stil, – det sletteste

Mùnchener kram –, som forresten er lavet

meget bedre i Tyskland. Jeg tabte forresten

meget af respecten for Rùsti dengang, han blev

saa begeistret for mit billede "graa vaarnat",

som han jo synes er mit bedste billede i Meyers

galleri. Jeg synes det er det svageste – og – 

det var igrùnden ikke ret af Meyer, at han

beholdt det i sit galleri, thi han bestilte

dengang et billede, "som han vilde have som

present til en god ven", et billede "som kùnde

kùnde være til hygge i et hjem", eller et

"koseligt" billede som folk flest kùnde forstaa

og hygge sig ved – noget i den retning skrev

han – saa sendte jeg hint billede, som jeg

troede vilde svare til hensigten – og saa har

Meyer fùndet det for "koseligt" for sin gode

ven og har raadfört sig med sit orakel

Rusti; og paa dennes ord om at: "han var 

god fyr, men endaa er dar framsteg", har saa

Meyer antaget det til sit galleri. Kanske

Rùsti har opdaget sin feiltagelse siden og derfor er

bleven slig mod mig, som han var i Bergen, – 

da han telefonerede paa den ùnderlige maade

ned til hotellet. O. J. Larsen staar vel bag.

   Jeg har forresten længe fölt, hvad Thùnold

og havde indtryk af, at der holder paa at 

danne sig en sammensværgelse – en klik 

imod mig i Bergen – maaske det er fordi

jeg stadig er bleven kaldt "vestlandets maler"

og lign.d. Jeg veed, jeg har dem imod mig baade

O. J. Larsen, Rùsti, Seim, Asor Hansen og

mùligens ogsaa Melvær, Björn Smit Hald og

Kaland. Dog intet videre om dette – det er

heldigst at fienden staar i den tro, at jeg intet

ahner. – Aavang gaar med dem saa sikkert

som at han har rödt haar og er en Jùdas.

Seim er Larsens gode ven, og han har

ùdtalt i Kristiania, at vestlandet er ikke slig,

som jeg har malt det, – jeg har kùn seet det 

mörke i vestlandet; – han derimod skal

"maale" vestlandet med "ljose" farver – det

vil sige – han skal iklæde vestlandet

franskmændenes aflagte brogede klær fra

III

fra 1902. Franskmændene kan forresten

ikke opvise en eneste god kùnstner i den

regnbùefarvede klædedragt. De, som opfandt

denne spraglede decomponerings methode

nemlig Gaùgin og Claùde Monet havde

forlængst forladt den fördi för de ble

naade til at gjöre sin bedste kùnst, de

havde da fùndet bedre midler og brugte kùn

decomponeringen ligesom van Gog for at  

fremhæve en enkelt farvetone, som derved

forstærkedes mod de övrige flader, men naar

hele billedet oplöses i smaa decomponerings-

farver, saa blir der jo ikke tale om nogen

fremhævelse – det hele blir et virvar,

hvori alle farver paa afstand slaar hinanden

ihjæl, saa billedet blir ganske fladt,

og det komiske er, at det nettop er afstands-

virkningen, de samme mennesker paaberoper

sig. Ude i Eùropa er det kùn nogle tyskere,

som endnù pröver at være "moderne kolorister"

paa denne maade – men tyskerne kommer

jo altid lidt post festùm. Franskmændene

svirede jo en tid i denne nyopdagede eneste

saliggjörende methode, – men den er der

nede længst paa retoùr. Engelskmændene

har aldrig været inde i denne bagevje – 

de opdagede vel faren i tide – jeg opdagede

den ogsaa tidlig i Paris, endskjönt jeg var sterkt inde

paa den nettop dengang, da jeg gik paa Colla-

rozzi akademiet hos Krohg – jeg kùnde

forresten kanske havt godt af at strævet en

stùnd med den med historie – som finger-

övelse og træning; thi det mangler jeg i höi grad,

men jeg vilde da stadig senere have ærgret mig

over en saadan negativ periode; thi det varede

en tid, förend jeg kùnde komme mig lös fra

decomponeringen, den sætter sig formelig som

en sygdom paa öiet, saa man altid er tilböi-

elig til at se farven sprængt.

Forresten tror jeg om en mand som Seim, at han

er saa begavet, at han kommer sig ùd af den 

slemme historie – der forresten hos ham bùnder

mere i teknik end i fölelse, – det er vistnok

bleven en fix idé – en indbildning hos ham,

at det maa være slig for at være god kunst

– det er altsaa ikke nogen öienbedærvelse; thi

jeg veed, at han maler ganske nögternt, tört

og naturalistisk efter naturen, og saa gaar han

hjem og oplöser de enkle brùne og graalige farver rent

theoretisk i striber af ùblandede farver, omtrent

som naar man reprodùcerer med "trefarvetryk"

og er nödt til at beregne, hvilke af de tre

ùblandede farver, der maa være mest af og mindst

af, idet man sætter dem ùblandet ved siden af 

hinanden i smapùnkter eller striber, som blander sig for öiet.

Hvad man altsaa i reprodùctionskùnsten

maa gjöre af mangel paa midler (mellem-

farver) – det gjör Seim til en dyd og et kùnst-

nerisk princip.

De spörger om prisen paa træsnitterne for

eventùelle bestillinger – jeg maa straks svare

at för til hösten kan jeg ikke lave nogen.

Hvad prisen angaar, saa var jeg bùden 50 kr.

for et af de store nù paa udstillingen i

Kristiania – (det var en frù Nini Anker, som 

skriver böger) – jeg har derfor tænkt at holde

den pris paa de store, – iallefald til Meyer; – 

til andre kùnde jeg kanske sælge dem for 25 kr.

hvis jeg blir oplagt til at gjöre en större

trykning, – det tar ikke saa lidet paa nerver-

ne nemlig, naar man skal trykke, især

naar den 5te eller 6te plade kommer galt

paa plads og hele det forrige arbeide er spildt,

og gaar det först galt senere ved 7de eller 8de 

plade, saa blir det desto værre, – jeg trykker

derfor med freidigt mod de 2-3 förste

plader, men saa blir jeg for hver plade 

mere og mere nervös og forsigtig; og det

tager som sagt paa nerverne.

Hvad de andre træsnit angaar, har jeg tænkt

paa en pris af maximùm 30 kr. for "Mai mane"

og maximùm 20 kr. for "Nat ved fossen." 

Trykkene i bare sort og hvidt har jeg tænkt

at tage 10 kr. for – minimùmspriserne kan

da sættes til halvdelen af maximùmsprisen.

Jeg kommer mùligens til at lave nogen plader

i sommer ogsaa, men trykning er jeg for nervös 

til – nervösiteten slaar sig paa maven, som er

rent elendig, – saa det næsten er ùmùligt at male.

IIII

Angaaende mit töi som staar hos Dem,

saa er jeg meget lei over, at frk. Kamstrup

har bebyrdet Dem med alt dette gamle 

kassable töi, som jeg först tænkte paa at 

kasere, men som jeg saa pakkede i en sæk

og bad frk. Kamstrup sende til Förde.

Jeg skammer mig over, at De har maattet

hùse saadant skrab saa længe; det har jo ingen 

hast med at sende det nù heller – men jeg

tænker det tager en del plads alligevel, – saa

De kan kanske være saa venlig at sende det 

til Förde, naar det er Dem beleiligt.

Det gjör mig ondt, at De skùlde gjöre saa

mange opofrelser med at pynte loftet for 

min skyld, og at jeg saa ikke engang skulde

se, hvor omsorgsfùld De havde været for

mig. De har vel ogsaa havt en hel del udlæg

for mig af transport for töi og lignende –, det

maa jeg faa lov at betale Dem igjen – De siger,

at jeg ikke skylder hos Irgens, – jo jeg skylder

der, – for jeg sendte mit töi som ilgods

fra Tyskland lige til Förde, da jeg var for ner-

vös til at passe paa det ùnderveis, naar der

skùlde byttes tog og skib; – det blir sikker-

lig ikke saa lidet, – da jeg ikke kunde faa

betale fragten længer end til Kjöbenhavn, og

Irgens folk maatte hente töiet paa jernbane-

stationen og bringe det paa toldboden i Bergen,

hvor det var kommen samme dag, som jeg

kom til Bergen, og jeg kùnde ikke faa noget

af mit töi – jeg maatte lade Irgens folk

staa paa toldboden hele dagen 19de mai og vente, til

tolderne endelig kunde faa tid til at se

på töiet; – saa sendte Irgens töiet til

Förde ogsaa. Efter reglerne skùlde jeg da

betale det hele i Förde ved modtagelsen

som dampskibsefterkrav, men da jeg ikke

blev krævet ved ankomsten did, saa maa

Irgens altsaa have liggende regning paa til mig.

Nei jeg maa skynde mig – posten gaar snart.

Ja det skùlde være umaadelig hyggeligt

om vi træffes i Jölster i sommer.

Vasendens hotel synes jeg er det hyggeligste

hotel i verden – og hoteleieren er den hyg-

geligste hotelvært, jeg har kjendt – 

desværre blir det sidste sommeren, han

blir der, thi hotellet er nettop solgt fra

ham ved aùktion, – det har gaaet galt

med hans ökonomiske afairer, – som det 

oftest gaar med bra folk – han har været

for snild mod sine gjæster, – saa der har

stadig været ùnderbalance i de senere aar.

Han heder Nikolai Nilsen. Til hösten

kommer hotellet i hænderne paa den kjede-

ligste gnier i bygden – en skinhellig ræv; – 

som er bleven rig paa andres bekostning; – 

det er eieren af Skei hotel (Øvre Vasenden);

han har for mange aar siden forstaaet

at konkùrere ud den gamle hoteleier paa

Skei, saa denne gik fallit, og saa fik han

kjöbt hans hotel for næsten ingenting og

byggede det sammen med sit eget – oprindelig 

ganske lille hotel. Sin kompagnion fik han 

lempet ùd af "forretningen", saa at denne, der 

oprindelig var rig, blev en fattig forgjældet

mand, som hængte sig av nærings sorger (det var

hans svoger). Nù skal han ogsaa faa kloen i

Vasendens hotel, som han tildels ogsaa har

rùineret ved at indrette dampskibs rùterne

ùrimelig for Vasenden, som tabte alle middags-

gjæster – han eier nemlig ogsaa störstedelen

af dampskibet "Skjold", samt en motorbaad,

som dog gùdskelov stadig slaar klik midt

paa vandet, og som derfor oftest ligger ùnder

reparation. Som De kan forstaa hader jeg den

gamle hykler – ikke for hans driftighed, men

fordi han er en gùdelig "fisletut," som er bedste

ven med præst og klokker og alle "brave" folk

i bygden, som han præker fùld med sladder – 

Det har ikke saa lidet at sige for mig, at en

saadan mand skal have alle hoteller i bygden,

jeg maa jo ofte benytte mig af hotellernes

forraad av levnetsmidler – paa grùnd af den

afsides beliggenhed – og med denne mand har

jeg altid staaet paa fiendtlig fod. Nù det er natur-

ligvis farligt at udtale sig, som jeg her har gjort;

thi han har venner alle steder, – da han mærkelig 

nok er meget villig til at kaùtionere for folk

ja endog for et saa slet papir som lensmanden;

V

jeg haaber at dette ogsaa engang skal blive

hans ùlykke. Ivar Lind stakkar har nok

maattet til pers igjen for lensmanden, har jeg

hört, – men lad ham endelig ikke vide, at jeg 

har fortalt Dem dette.

Denne eieren af Skei Hotel skal nù faa

kjöbe Vasendens hotel med inventar for 

16 tùsend kr. – det er rent meningslöst,

da det skal være værd 40 tùsend, – havde jeg

kùnnet faa kaùtion, skùlde jeg nù kjöbe

det öieblikkelig; thi den gamle ræv har

endnù ikke faaet tilslag paa bùdet, det

faar han ikke för til hösten.

Havde jeg nù havt mit lille hùs istand,

kùnde jeg inviteret Dem Frù Höst og deres

datter hid i sommer, men De vilde nok

finde hùset saa ynkeligt lidet, – at De vilde

betakket Dem – et dùkkehùs – vilde De tænke,

om De saa det, – og alligevel blir det dyrt

nok for mig; thi her er saa lang transport

paa materialer, at der gaar næsten lige meget

til transport som til det, materialerne selv koster

ja hvad mùrsten angaar blir transporten

endog mere, end hvad stenen koster. Mit

hùs liger jo næsten 5 mil fra sjöen.

Alle hùse blir jo ùforholdsmæssig dyre, her

i fjeldbygden, – især siden staten kjöbte alle

skogene i nærheden, saa alle maa kjöbe

sine materialer fra trælasthandlerne i byerne.

Desùden vokser arbeidernes daglön ùafladelig.

Jeg har tre arbeidere nù, – de skal have 3 kr.

dagen hver, det blir 54 kr. ùgen – der er flere ting

som maa gjöres straks, om hùset skal kùnne

blive brandassùreret – brandtmure og skorstens-

piber. Kan De give mig et raad om det er

muligt at faa brandassùreret nogensted mid-

lertidig, medens hùset er under bygning. Jeg maa

jo assurere for mindst 2000, om jeg ikke skal 

tabe for meget ved en brand.

Her blir trangt om hùsrùm i præstegaarden 

ogsaa i sommer, da min söster Hanna skal

have bryllup og hendes forlovedes slegtninge

kommer hid paa besög og desùden andre af

vor familie, som skal være i brylluppet.

Havde ikke det været, kùnde I jo boet i 

præstegaarden – men jeg haaber I kommer

og besöger os af og til. Jeg kan hente Eder

med hest pa Vasenden. Engel og jeg bor 

nù i den nye pagterboligen, men vi blir 

gjerne nödt til at flytte ud under selve

brylluppet, for gjæsternes skyld, da tar vi gjerne

ind paa Vasendens hotel nogle dage, og det

vilde da være hyggeligt, om vi kùnde være 

sammen med Eder der. Der gaar ellers ogsaa

dampskib 2 gange for dagen, saa det er let 

at reise til og fra Vasenden.

Nei jeg glemmer posten og opholder Dem

med alskens ùnödigt snak.

Det skal blive morsomt at se Kinck’s

artikkel.

Det er altfor elskværdigt af Dem at

tilbyde mig laan nù – jeg siger Dem

tusend tak, men jeg har dog god kredit baade

hos landhandleren og hos kjöbmanden i

Bergen – Ole Eide, – som jeg dog skylder vel

100 kr. – værre er det med grosserer Haave

paa Florö, som jeg skylder ca. 2-3 hùndrede.

Jeg skylder ogsaa lidt hist og her andre 

steder og, men dog i alt ikke mere end 500 kr

Ja saa maa De leve vel. Engel beder

hilse – hùn er ikke er frisk; men Kari

er bedre, men hùn vil ikke vokse noget

nù, – de förste uger voksede hun 2 ½ hg (1 mark)

pr. ùgen – i de sidste ùger vokser hùn

knapt 1 hg. pr. ùge – fortsætter det slig vil 

hùn snart staa stille og ikke vokse noget;

og saa skriger hùn stadigt – jeg tror næsten 

hùn sùlter, og at vi maa begynde at give

hende mad, men jeg veed ikke, hvad det skùlde

være. Kanske De er saa venlig at give os et 

raad – er der ikke noget paa apothekerne, noget

som saa smaa börn kan spise? Jölstringerne

giver sine 8 dage gamle börn störknet fett med

sùkker paa – jeg synes det maa være farligt selv

for den sterkeste voksne mave.

Hils Deres mand og datter hjærteligst fra

Engel og Deres hengivne 

Nik. Astrup

Konvolutt, framside:

Til 

Hr. Overlærer Höst og frùe

Welhavens gade 30 

Bergen

Translation

Aalhùs 18th June 1911

Dear Mrs. Höst!

I will write a few lines in haste to thank You 

profusely for Your twofold letter and

for the fact, that You are willing to submit to so much bother for my 

sake by photographing my pictures and for

Kinck’s article, which I can imagine, You

have had a great share in – I hope, that I will receive a bill 

for the photographing at least. – The titles, which You write

about, dare I ask You to decide, as You think best – 

I can make a few suggestions. The woodcuts are not

suited for reproduction – the first one

the one with the blooming apple tree (the largest) must

presumably be called: "A night in June in Jölster" (1909)? –, the second

largest I cannot remember whether You have – "The moon in May" (1908)

it might perhaps be called? "The waterfall at night" (1907)

is perhaps suitable for the third?

"The shady side" (1905) can be called as it was in the catalogue from

Bergen: "From the shady side of Jölster’s parsonage".

The watercolour I have no idea, what I should call – 

"The first night in May" (1907) is that possible?

Miss Inger’s picture: "A night in June and blooming trees (1906)

"Robert Vik" – "a night in May in the garden" (1903) as opposed to 

"the sketch" which might perhaps be called "A night in June in the garden" 1905

the first one is in fact painted a little earlier in the spring than

the other one.

It is so difficult to find titles for pictures 

of similar motifs – with my pictures it will

easily lead to the same names repeatedly – 

one cannot continually call the pic-

tures: "A night in spring", "a night in June," or "a night in summer." 

Miss Kamstrup and I have also had considerable 

difficulty finding new titles – and it was

most necessary that each picture was equipped 

with its own title in the exhibition.

  Thank you for Your greeting from Miss Backer it

was very nice to hear, what she said

about me – I now believe, that it must have been a lie

what I was told, she supposedly

said about me once. It was in fact

so shameful, that I am not able to 

repeat it even to such good friends as You.

The most despicable part of of the story was, that the

sallow old maid (whom Miss Backer supposedly spoke 

to in the railroad compartment) – employed 

Miss Backer’s alleged remark in order to

hurt my brother Peter, when he became engaged with

his present wife; that venomous old hag

intended intended to convince her family of

what a bad family Peter came from – and mentioned

among other things his "infamous" brother the painter, whom

she knew via Miss Backer.

It is strange, that one can never have 

one’s private life in peace from lies and calumny.

I met Miss Backer in Kristiania [Oslo] at the telegraph 

station, the day I was going abroad,

but I did not have the courage to ask her, whether there was any

foundation for, what she had supposedly said about

me. Such old witches always know how to fabricate a

story so odious, they know for certain

one is reluctant to repeat it.

In the meantime I have found out, who

the originators of the shameful 

stories about my "private life" are, the stories 

that deprived me of the grant – which I real-

ly could have benefited greatly from – the grant

was awarded based on reasonable terms – 900 kroner per

allotment – I had planned at the time to travel down to 

Italy to meet Kinck (we corresponded about

it, when I was in London). I am still annoyed

about that affair. Karsten I can forgive,

because he did it for his own sake – in order to

have the grant himself – also because he is a good

artist. – Kinck will one day take 

revenge on Axel Maùrer – as 

he did with Bernt Lie – but let this remain between 

us. Yet the one, who I have a "precious"

recollection of, is my former good friend and 

colleague, who "sold" me in order to win Karsten’s

favour – or rather who lied and slandered me

to the authorities for the benefit of Karsten, – because

he feared Karsten’s malicious tongue, who

threatened to neglect him, as the sham

that he is in art – this colleague and 

former friend I shall remember.

I’d be happy to tell You who it is, because

I have full confidence in You; – I would hardly like 

for all and sundry to have knowledge about my

disposition towards him – in the event,  

that I one day should be close to him in

a "merry" moment. – It is in fact Arne Kavli,

who six years ago repeatedly sought to show me

his friendly disposition and his admiration, –

he even brought people along up to my stu-

dio, to see my pictures – at the time

he was particularly excited about the picture 

"Robert Vik" (one of the night in spring pictures), which he said

"was something totally new in art." 

This year incidentally the same thing is being done

to Nils Dahl – that was done back then to

me; – naturally You have followed events in Bergen

better than me, and are therefore more familiar with 

the overwhelming protest from nearly every Norwegian 

artist regarding the rescinding of Nils Dahl’s

grant – the same grant that

was taken away from me in fact "the Henrichsen Endowment".

The only difference is, that no one protested,

that time it was taken from me.

Poor Nils Dahl – that quiet – kind and

decent boy, who doesn’t even drink a

dram – I know, how it feels to be

denied a good grant – especially when someone 

like me shall at the same time have his good

name and reputation disgraced; – a paltry grant like the 

Hoùen Endowment is almost better not to

receive than to receive; because it is tantamount to forced

exile on a starvation diet; – had I known in 

what meagre rations, it was allotted, I 

would never have applied for it – 200 kroner per month, is there any 

sense in that –? If it is not taken away from me, I

will be a few years older, before I can

use it up; for I must earn money in be-

tween each allotment – if I am going to be able to use

it.

Rasmùs Meyer will hardly purchase anything of mine 

in the nearest future, – I have entirely unde-

servedly gained O. J. Larsen as a foe and (as far as

I could understand) his friend Rusti as well – and these

two (at least the latter) have a great influence 

on Rasmùs Meyer. Rùsti by the way I can no 

longer understand – when he can recommend

the acquisition by the gallery of such a poor picture as

Thorbjörnsen’s aspens in the Art Nouveau style, – the most inferior

Munich curlicues –, which by the way are accomplished

far better in Germany. I lost a lot of respect 

for Rùsti that time, he became

so excited about my picture "grey night in spring", 

which he thinks is the best picture I have in Meyer’s

gallery. I think it is the weakest – and – 

it was in fact not right of Meyer, to

keep it in his gallery, for he commissioned

back then a picture, "that he wished to have as

a present for a good friend", a picture "that might

might be a source of pleasure in a home", or a

"nice" picture that most people could understand

and derive pleasure from – he wrote something like 

that – so I sent the mentioned picture, which I

thought would serve the purpose – and then

Meyer found it too "nice" for his good

friend and consulted his oracle

Rusti; and based on this man’s word: "he was

good before, but even so there is progress", Meyer

has accepted it for his gallery. Perhaps

Rùsti has since discovered his mistake and therefore has

behaved in such a way towards me, as he did in Bergen, – 

when he telephoned in that strange way 

down to the hotel. O. J. Larsen is probably behind it.

   I have incidentally felt for a long time, what Thùnold

also had the impression of, that there is a 

conspiracy in the making – a click 

against me in Bergen – perhaps it is because

I have continuously been called "the painter of West Norway"

and such. I know, that they are against me both

O. J. Larsen, Rùsti, Seim, Asor Hansen and

possibly also Melvær, Björn Smit Hald and

Kaland. Nevertheless no spreading this further – it is

best that the enemy believes, I haven’t

an inkling. – Aavang hangs out with them as surely

as he has red hair and is a Judas.

Seim is Larsen’s good friend, and he has

stated in Kristiania [Oslo], that West Norway is not,

as I have painted it, – I have only seen the 

darkness in West Norway; – he on the other hand shall

"paint" West Norway with "light" colours – that 

is to say – he shall dress West Norway in

Frenchmen’s discarded motley attire from

III

from 1902. Frenchmen cannot by the way

point to a single good artist in the

rainbow coloured attire. They, who invented

this motley disintegration method

that is to say Gaùgin and Claùde Monet have

abandoned it long because before they were

managed to create their best art, they

had by then found better means and used

disintegration like van Gog in order to

emphasize a single colour tone, which is thereby 

accentuated against the other planes, but when

the entire picture is dissolved into small disintegrating

colours, then it’s not a question of

accentuation – it all become a jumble,

in which all the colours at a distance knock each other

out, so that the picture becomes quite flat,

and the funny thing is, it is precisely the distancing

effect, the same people claim to 

invoke. Around Europe there are only a few Germans,

who continue to strive to be "modern colourists"

in this fashion – but the Germans always

arrive a little post festùm. The French

stumbled around for a while in this newly invented 

unparalleled method, – but down there it

has long since been in decline. Englishmen

have never entered this backwater – 

they must have discovered the danger in time – I also discovered

it in time in Paris, although I was strongly into

it at that precise time, when I attended the Colla-

rozzi academy under Krohg – Incidentally I 

might have perhaps benefited from the effort for

a while from that med experience – such as finger

exercises and training; for I generally lack it,

but I would later repeatedly regret 

such a negative period; because it took

a while, before I was able to tear myself away from

disintegration, it virtually infests

the eye like a disease, so that one is always in-

clined to see the colour blown up.

However I believe that a man like Seim, that he

is so gifted, that he will escape from that 

terrible situation – his work incidentally is based

more on technique than feeling, – it has evidently

become an obsession – an illusion with him,

that it must be so in order to be good art

– it is in other words not an eye affliction; because

I know, that he paints quite soberly, dryly

and naturalistically from nature, and then he goes

home and dissolves the simple brown and greyish colours quite

theoretically into stripes of unmixed colours, somewhat

as when one reproduces with "stereotype" 

and is forced to calculate, which of the three

primary colours, there should be most of and least

of, as one applies them unmixed next to each 

other in small dots or stripes, which blend with the eye.

In other words what one must do in

reproduction art due to a paucity of means (secondary

colours) – Seim treats this as a virtue and an artis-

tic principle.

You ask about the price of the woodcuts for

potential orders – I must immediately reply

that before the fall I cannot produce any.

As for the price, I was offered 50 kroner

for one of the large ones now in the exhibition in

Kristiania – (it was a Mrs. Nini Anker, who 

writes books) – I have therefore thought to retain

that price for the large ones, – at least for Meyer; – 

for others I might perhaps sell them for 25 kroner

if I have the energy to create a large

printing, – it is a great strain on the nerves

you see, when one prints, in particular

when the 5th or 6th block is inaccurately

positioned and all of the previous work is wasted,

and if things go wrong with the 7th or 8th 

block, then it is even worse, – I therefore

print with intrepid courage the first 2-3

blocks, but then I become with each new block 

more and more nervous and cautious; and it 

is as I said a strain on the nerves.

As far as the other woodcuts are concerned, I have thought

of a maximum price of 30 kroner for "The moon in May"

and a maximum of 20 kroner for "The waterfall at night." 

The prints in black and white alone I have thought

of taking 10 kroner for – the minimum prices can

then be set at half the maximum price.

I will perhaps create a few blocks

this summer in addition, but I am too anxious to

print – the anxiety takes it toll on the stomach, which is

absolutely miserable, – to the extent that it is impossible to paint.

IIII

Regarding my clothes that are at Your home,

I am very sorry, that Miss Kamstrup

has burdened You with all this old 

expendable clothing, which I first planned to 

discard, but which I then packed in a sack

and asked Miss Kamstrup to send to Förde.

I am ashamed, that You have had to

house such scrap for so long; there is no 

hurry to send it now either – but I

imagine it takes up some space nevertheless, – so

perhaps You might be so kind as to send it 

to Förde, when it is convenient for You.

It pains me, that You should make such

a sacrifice fixing the attic for 

my sake, and that I should not even

see, how considerate You have been towards

me. You must have also had quite a few expenditures

for me for the transport of clothes and the like –, I

must be allowed to repay You for that – You say,

that I do not owe anything at Irgens, – but I do owe

something there, – because I sent my clothing by express

from Germany all the way to Förde, as I was too ner-

vous to keep track of it en route, when I 

should switch trains and ships; – it will sure-

ly be a pretty sum, – as I was not able to

pay the freight further than to Copenhagen, and

Irgens’ people had to fetch the clothing at the train

station and bring it to the customs house in Bergen,

where it had arrived the same day I 

arrived in Bergen, and I could not get any

of my clothing – I had to let Irgens’ people

wait at the customs house the entire day 19th May, until

the customs officials finally had the time to look

at the clothes; – then Irgens sent the clothes to

Förde as well. According to the rules I should then

have paid for everything in Förde upon arrival

as a steamship C.O.D., but since I was

not required to upon my arrival there, then

Irgens must have a bill waiting to for me.

I must hurry – the postman is leaving soon.

It would be an immense pleasure

if we could meet in Jölster this summer.

Vasenden hotel I think is the nicest

hotel in the world – and the hotel owner is the nic-

est hotel host, I have known – 

unfortunately it will be the last summer, he

will be there, since the hotel has just been sold

in an auction, – things have not gone well

with his financial affairs, – which is 

often the case with good people – he has been

too kind towards his guests, – so there has

been a continual deficit in recent years.

His name is Nikolai Nilsen. This fall

the hotel will come into the hands of the most

annoying miser in the village – a sanctimonious fox; – 

who has become wealthy at the expense of others; – 

it is the owner of Skei hotel (Øvre Vasenden);

he had long ago understood

how to win out over the old hotel owner at

Skei, so that he went bankrupt, and then he was able

to buy the man’s hotel for almost nothing and

construct it together with his own – originally 

rather little hotel. His partner he had 

thrown out of "the business", so that this man, who had

once been wealthy, became a poor debt-ridden

man, who hanged himself because of financial woes (it was

his brother-in-law). Now he will get his claws on

Vasenden hotel, which he has partially also 

ruined by arranging the steamship schedules

inconveniently for Vasenden, who thus lost all the dinner

guests – for he also owns the greater part

of the steamship "Skjold", together with a motorboat,

which thank goodness repeatedly breaks down in the middle

of the lake, and is therefore most often at the

repair shop. As You can understand I hate that

old hypocrite – not for his business prowess, but

because he is a pious "snitch," who is best

friends with the priest and the curate and all the "respectable" people

in the village, whom he preaches full of gossip – 

It is not a small matter for me, that such

a man shall own all the hotels in the village,

I must often make use of the hotels’

food supplies – because of the 

remote location – and with this man I

have always been on a bad footing. Well it is of

course dangerous to express oneself, as I have done here;

because he has friends everywhere, – since he strangely 

enough is quite willing to provide security for people

even for such a bad apple as the bailiff;

V

I hope that this will also be his undoing

one day. Ivar Lind poor chap was 

called on the carpet by the bailiff, I have 

heard, – but don’t let him know, that I 

have told You this.

This owner of Skei Hotel will now

purchase Vasenden hotel including the inventory for 

16 thousand kroner – it is utterly ridiculous,

when it is supposed to be worth 40 thousand, – if I had

been able to get security, I would purchase

it on the spot; because the old fox has

not yet had his offer accepted, he

won’t have it until autumn.

Had my little cabin been in order now,

I might have invited You Mrs. Höst and Your

daughter here this summer, but You would probably

find the house so pitifully small, – that You would

decline the offer – a doll’s house – You would think,

if You saw it, – and nevertheless it will be expensive

enough for me; because the transport of materials here

is so far, that it costs nearly as much

for transportation as for what the materials themselves cost

And when it comes to bricks the transportation

is even more, than what the stone costs. My

house lies almost 50 kilometres from the sea.

All the houses become disproportionately expensive, here

in the mountain village, – especially since the government bought up all

the forests in the vicinity, so that everyone must purchase

their materials from the lumber companies in the cities.

In addition the workers’ daily wage increases continuously.

I have three workers now, – they shall have 3 kroner

per day each, that amounts to 54 kroner per week – there are several things

that must be done immediately, before the house can

be insured against fire – a firewall and

chimneys. Can You let me know if it is

possible to get fire insurance somewhere tem-

porarily, while the house is under construction. I must

insure it for at least 2000, if I am not going 

to lose too much in the event of a fire.

There will be crowded accommodations also in the parsonage 

this summer, since my sister Hanna is

having a wedding and her fiancé’s relatives

are coming to visit and in addition others from

our family, who are attending the wedding.

Had it not been for that, You might have stayed at 

the parsonage – but I hope You come

and visit us now and then. I can fetch You

with a horse at Vasenden. Engel and I are 

living now in the new tenant’s residence, but we will 

surely be obliged to move out during the wedding

itself, for the sake of the guests, then we will likely

stay at Vasenden hotel for a few days, and it

would be nice, if we could be there 

together with You. There is also a

steamship 2 times a day, so it is easy 

to travel to and from Vasenden. 

Now I am forgetting the postman and am keeping You

with all sorts of unnecessary talk.

It will be fun to see Kinck’s

article.

It is too kind of You to

offer me a loan now – I thank You

profusely, but I have good credit both

at the general store and the merchant in

Bergen – Ole Eide, – whom I nevertheless owe more than

100 kroner – it is worse with the wholesaler Haave

in Florö, whom I owe approx. 2-3 hundred.

I also owe a little here and there in other 

places as well, yet not more than 500 kroner in all

May You live well then. Engel sends

greetings – she is not is well; but Kari

is better, though she is not growing much

now, – the first weeks she grew 2 ½ hg (1 mark)

per week – in the past weeks she has barely

grown 1 hg. per week – if it continues like this 

she will soon stop and not grow at all;

and then she cries all the time – I almost think 

she is starving, and that we should begin to give

her food, but I have no idea, what it should 

be. Perhaps You are so kind as to give us some 

advice – isn’t there something at the pharmacist, something

that such small children can eat? People from Jölster 

give their 8-day-old children solidified fat with

sugar – I think that must be dangerous even

for the strongest adult stomach.

Warmest greetings to Your husband and daughter from

Engel and Your devoted 

Nik. Astrup

Envelope, front:

To 

Mr. Headmaster Höst and Mrs.

Welhavens gade 30 

Bergen