The Parsonage Garden

undefined undefined undefined, 1902 - 1905, 500 x 580 mm

Sparebankstiftelsen DnB

A lone figure is digging in the little patch of earth in the parsonage garden. The woman is shrouded in the darkness of night and nearly blends in with the brown mould. The picture plane is pierced by the picket fence that traverses it, creating a geometrical grid in contrast to nature. The bright nocturnal sky, which is painted an intense blue, brings sorely needed light to the activity under the trees in the garden. The atmosphere is quiet – almost hallowed, and is concentrated around the work of cultivating the soil. 

The Parsonage Garden depicts a section of the parsonage at Ålhus in Jølster. The direction is facing westward, and Astrup has most likely painted the motif from the vantage point of the window in the parsonage building called “Hjørnestuen” (the “Corner Cabin”). The series of “Views from windows”, which contains 36 motifs, is found in the notebook Miscellaneous Motifs from the period 1898–1904, and the motif has similarities to motif number 4: “view from the Hjörnestue window: barberry shrubs, meadows, the Mound, the Stream, red berry bushes, apple trees”.

In the painting Astrup has focused on the garden with trees and newly sown vegetable beds, and the white foaming Klipperfossen (Kleberfossen) as a local landmark in the background. The various elements of the motif are symmetrically arranged, and this is accentuated by the transverse position of the fence in the picture’s middle ground. Øystein Loge characterises this work as a frontal composition. This is a formula that we see in several paintings, such as Barren Mountain (K53), Spring Atmosphere (K181) and Grey Spring Evening (K77). Loge compares the use of the frontal perspective, as an artistic device, to the icon, which symbolically establishes a connection between human beings and a spiritual deity. The frontal perspective is also a pictorial device that amplifies a direct and intense impression of nature. The painting Spring Rain and Cherries (K43) was also painted from this window, but in this painting the view has been shifted slightly to the right.

The motif of human figures on their knees digging with their hands in the earth is a repeated theme in Astrup’s paintings and woodcuts from the parsonage. Some examples are the painting series "Spring Night in the Garden" and the woodcut series "The Moon in May". The motif depicts the intimate and nurturing connection between humans and nature via the strenuous work.  

In a description of the painting Spring Rain and Cherries, another version of The Parsonage Garden, Astrup suggests that he shall paint wet on wet to render the blooming treetops in rainy weather. One can see this in this version as well. The different nuances of green and brown are painted rapidly – before the different paint layers have dried, thereby creating the effect of the colours blending together.  

-1902-n.d.:

Nikolai Astrup

(1880-1928)

n.d.-1944:

Pola Gauguin

(1883-1961)

1944-1955-:

Carl Andreas Schultz

(1903-1987)

-1955-1987-:

Gerd Schultz

(1911-1996)

-1987-n.d.:

-1994-2005:

Exhibition_history

Separate_exhibition

1955-1-10 - 1955-12-31

Nikolai Astrup. Malerier og tresnitt

Oslo

46

See_exhibition

1956-11-2 - 1956

Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928

Stockholm

See_exhibition

1971-1-13 - 1971-2-2

Nikolai Astrup

Oslo

20

See_exhibition

1980-3-14 - 1980-4-7

Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Maleri, tegning, grafikk

Bergen

36

See_exhibition

1980-4-12 - 1980-5-4

Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Maleri, tegning, grafikk

Oslo

36

See_exhibition

1980-6-4 - 1980-6-29

Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Maleri, tegning, grafikk

Trondheim

36

See_exhibition

1994 - 1994

Nikolai Astrup. Tradisjon og overskridelse

Stavanger

11

See_exhibition

1994-9-17 - 1994-11-13

Nikolai Astrup. Tradisjon og overskridelse

Oslo

11

See_exhibition

2011-5-14 - 2011-9-11

Nikolai Astrup: Å møtast på ein klote, på ein stad

Rosendal

12

See_exhibition

2017-3-3 - 2020

Nikolai Astrup Ut av skyggen

Bergen

See_exhibition

Group_exhibition

Haugsbø, Tove Kårstad, Nikolai Astrup (1880–1928). Å møtast på ein klote, på ein stad. Baroniet Rosendal. Rosendal, 2011, 62.

Hus, Kunstnernes, Nikolai Astrup. Malerier og tresnitt. Kunstnernes Hus. Oslo, 1955, 20.

Konstförbundet, Nordiska, Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Konstakademien. Stockholm, 1956, 28.

Konstförbundet, Nordiska, Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Konstakademien. Stockholm, 1956.

Kunstnerforbundet, Nikolai Astrup. Malerier, tresnitt. Kunstnerforbundet. Oslo, 1971, upag.

kunstforening, Bergens, Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Maleri, tegning, grafikk. A/S John Griegs Boktrykkeri. Bergen, 1980, 26.

kunstforening, Bergens, Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Maleri, tegning, grafikk. A/S John Griegs Boktrykkeri. Bergen, 1980, 26.

Hus, Kunstnernes, Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928: maleri, tegning, grafikk. Kunstnernes Hus. Oslo, 1980, 26.

Loge, Øystein, Nikolai Astrup: tradisjon og overskridelse. Quorum & Artes. [Høvikodden], 1994, 32.

Loge, Øystein, Nikolai Astrup: tradisjon og overskridelse. Quorum & Artes. [Høvikodden], 1994, 32.

Loge, Øystein, Betrothed to Nature. Det Norske Samlaget. Oslo, 2010, 11, 173, 10, 12, 100, 178.