The Parsonage in the Rain

undefined undefined undefined, 1906 - 1906, 660 x 1002 mm

Rasmus Meyers samlinger, KODE Kunstmuseer og komponisthjem (KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes)

The parsonage farmhouse where Astrup grew up was an important channel for recapturing childhood memories and impressions for the artist. While Astrup lived in Ålhus, he documented the parsonage farmhouse from different angles, times of day, and atmospheres. In this painting, the house is depicted from below. The façade facing south dominates the picture plane – it is massive and appears almost threatening. In the foreground we see an old garden fence, which has the effect of situating the vantage point outside the garden. The rain colours both the house and the landscape in murky grey tones. The house become blurred and veiled in the white air, and the windows are dark and deserted. 

This painting depicts the old parsonage building at Ålhus in Jølster. The annex on the right, “Dagligstuen” (the “Day Cabin”), was torn down in 1907, while the house on the left still stands as shown here. The one remaining, with the staircase railing, was called “Hjørnestuen” (the “Corner Cabin”).  Klipperfossen (Kleberfossen), which functions as a local landmark in Astrup’s Ålhus pictures, can barely be glimpsed in the heavy rain clouds in the background.

Astrup’s title from 1908, “White House at Dusk and in Rain”, points to the atmospheric character effect of the motif. The growing dark and drizzle effects the colours and shapes, giving the impression of looking at the buildings and garden through a veil – despite our being very close to the motif. Astrup reflects on the appearance of the colours in the dark in his notebooks Blandede motiver (Miscellaneous Motifs) (1898–1908). In them he writes among other things that white, red and green are most visible at night, while all the other colours become grey-blue and with a violet tone. Together with the white façade, the red-brown and yellowish colours in the painting’s foreground stand out.

The painting was purchased by the art collector Rasmus Meyer at Astrup’s solo exhibition in Bergen Art Society in 1908 for 200 kroner, and since 1916 has been part of the museum’s Rasmus Meyer Collection. 

The motif in The Parsonage in Rain is also found in another version, TBA (private collection), but here the rain creates a totally different accentuation of the motif through various colour effects. This also influences the technical, painterly execution of the painting. In this version, the sheer veil of rain conceals the colour details from our gaze, and is rendered with diluted paint, and bristly, dry brushstrokes. The other version is depicted with clearer colours and more precisely formed details – the brushwork is fuller, which give the surface a more glossy effect. There are additional examples of repeated use of motifs in Astrup’s work, but the differences are an essential feature nevertheless. He explains it as follows: “when a painter has seen a motif in many moods, – he will never resort to “making” two pictures of the same motif completely alike”.

1906-1908:

Nikolai Astrup

(1880-1928)

1908-1916:

Rasmus Meyer

(1858-1916)

1916-1916:

Finn Meyer

(1892-1965)

1916-1916:

Gerda Nyquist

(1889-1965)

1916-1950:

Bergen kommune

1908-5-3 - 1908-5-27

Nikolai Astrups Maleriutstilling

Bergen

47

1911-1-22 - 1911-2-12

Nikolai Astrup

Kristiania (Oslo)

[20]

1928-10-10 - 1928-11-4

Nikolai Astrup. Mindeutstilling

Bergen

8

1928-11-11 - 1928-12-9

Nikolai Astrup. Mindeutstilling

Kristiania (Oslo)

8

1955-1-10 - 1955-12-31

Nikolai Astrup. Malerier og tresnitt

Oslo

33

1956-11-2 - 1956

Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928

Stockholm

20

1965-12-1 - 1965-12-19

Nikolai Astrup

København

10

1971-1-13 - 1971-2-2

Nikolai Astrup

Oslo

16

2016-5-1 - 2016-5-5

Nikolai Astrup Painting Norway

London

25

2016-6-10 - 2016-9-11

Nikolai Astrup Norske Landskap

Oslo

25

2016-10-2 - 2017-1-22

Nikolai Astrup: Norwegen. Eine Entdeckung

Emden

25

2021-6-19 - 2021-9-19

Nikolai Astrup: Visions of Norway

2021-10-15 - 2022-1-23

Nikolai Astrup. Rå natur

2022-2-19 - 2022-5-28

Nikolai Astrup. Visioner av norsk natur

1915-11-10 - 1915-12

Den norske kunstudstilling

København:

5

Bergens kunstforening. Katalog over Nikolai Astrups Maleriutstilling. Bergen: Bergens kunstforening, 1908.

Loge, Øystein. Betrothed to Nature. Oslo: Det Norske Samlaget, 2010.

Askeland, Jan. Rasmus Meyers Samlinger. Bergen: [Bergen kommune], 1966.

Bergens Kunstforening. Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Mindeutstilling. Bergen: Bergens kunstforening, 1928.