Funeral Day in Jølster

undefined undefined undefined, 1904 - 1904, 680 x 730 mm

Sparebankstiftelsen DnB, KODE Kunstmuseer og komponisthjem (KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes)

A little funeral procession is on its way to the graveyard. The priest, wearing his distinctive white collar, walks in front, and behind him the mourners follow with the coffin. An oppressive calm permeates the landscape; it’s almost as if all of nature holds its breath while the figures dressed in mourning slowly advance. Some of the people in the procession are carrying hymnals, and their mouths are open in song.

“This picture I have never got a red cent for”, Astrup writes in the list of works he compiled in 1927. In connection with the solo exhibition in 1908 Astrup gave the painting to Peter Skagen at Bergen Art Society, in what the artist believed was in exchange for the return shipping of works lent out by owners in the Oslo area. Astrup felt cheated when he received a bill from “Irgens transport bureau” shortly after.

The painting depicts a funeral procession on its way to the graveyard, and is an example of Astrup's attempt to translate music to colours. Among the artist’s notes is a description of a country funeral in Jølster, which is focused on the song; “The primitive atmosphere, pregnant with the dissonances that come over one when one hears antiquated funeral psalms sung by rusty, old voices in the coarse bass of men’s voices, and the shrieking falsetto of old women. […] How can one reproduce something of this in colours?” The painting can be seen as an attempt to do just this. The landscape is coloured in large areas of caustic yellow-green in contrast to colder green and blue-violet tones. The network of wooden hayracks and the rhythmic line of figures dressed in black contribute to imbuing the motif with a musical undertone. This creates a dissonance, which can have shrill effect on the eyes, like the voices. 

At Astrup's solo exhibition in 1908 this painting was included and for sale for 60 kroner. This was in the lower range of prices at the exhibition and suggests that Astrup considered the painting as a sketch. This was confirmed in Astrup's list of works from 1927.

The layers of paint are thin and transparent. Because of this, one can clearly discern that the funeral procession originally extended all along the road to the painting’s right edge. By painting over the last 11 figures, Astrup has centred the funeral procession and created a more balanced symmetry in the motif.

1904-1908:

Nikolai Astrup

(1880-1928)

1908-1911-:

Peter Skagen

(1845-1924)

-1911-1955:

Haakon Shetelig

(1877-1955)

1955-n.d.:

Kari Shetelig Hovland

(1916-2006)

2003-2005:

Exhibition_history

Separate_exhibition

1908-5-3 - 1908-5-27

Nikolai Astrups Maleriutstilling

Bergen

39

See_exhibition

1911-1-22 - 1911-2-12

Nikolai Astrup

Kristiania (Oslo)

See_exhibition

1928-10-10 - 1928-11-4

Nikolai Astrup. Mindeutstilling

Bergen

See_exhibition

1928-11-11 - 1928-12-9

Nikolai Astrup. Mindeutstilling

Kristiania (Oslo)

See_exhibition

1955-1-10 - 1955-12-31

Nikolai Astrup. Malerier og tresnitt

Oslo

3

See_exhibition

1971-1-13 - 1971-2-2

Nikolai Astrup

Oslo

3

See_exhibition

2016-1-22 - 2017-1-22

Nikolai Astrup Veien hjem

Bergen

See_exhibition

2016-5-1 - 2016-5-5

Nikolai Astrup Painting Norway

London

See_exhibition

2016-6-10 - 2016-9-11

Nikolai Astrup Norske Landskap

Oslo

See_exhibition

2016-10-2 - 2017-1-22

Nikolai Astrup: Norwegen. Eine Entdeckung

Emden

See_exhibition

2021-6-19 - 2021-9-19

Nikolai Astrup: Visions of Norway

See_exhibition

2021-10-15 - 2022-1-23

Nikolai Astrup. Rå natur

See_exhibition

2022-2-19 - 2022-5-28

Nikolai Astrup. Visioner av norsk natur

See_exhibition

Group_exhibition

Bergens kunstforening, Katalog over Nikolai Astrups Maleriutstilling. Bjarne Klausens Bogtrykkeri. Bergen, 1908.

Loge, Øystein, Betrothed to Nature. Det Norske Samlaget. Oslo, 2010, 152, 143, 155.

Bergens kunstforening, Katalog over Nikolai Astrups Maleriutstilling. Bjarne Klausens Bogtrykkeri. Bergen, 1908, [upag].

Kunstnernes Hus, Nikolai Astrup. Malerier og tresnitt. Kunstnernes Hus. Oslo, 1955, 17.

Kunstnerforbundet, Nikolai Astrup. Malerier, tresnitt. Kunstnerforbundet. Oslo, 1971, [uoag].