Summer Wind and Children Playing

undefined undefined undefined, 1913 - 1913, 1000 x 1200 mm

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

Five children walk in a row across a field on a clear, windy summer day in Ålhus. We can see how the wind tears at the leaves in the tree in the middle of the picture. The artist’s wife, Engel Astrup, is standing beside the tree, holding a little child. Intense red, yellow and blue tones create shrilling contrasts in the picture. Referring to the first version of this motif, Children Playing from 1903, Astrup wrote: “Dark sunlight, it was that kind of close, strange feeling of mysticism – sun mysticism – that one can sense as a child, when one has played and scampered in dazzling sunlight, until one becomes nearly blinded and then suddenly the sunlight appears almost dark – with shadows everywhere”.  

The painting Summer Wind and Children Playing was painted on commission by Rasmus Meyer in 1913. Meyer originally tried to buy the painting Children Playing (K29; 1903) with a similar motif, but when the owner did not wish to sell it, he asked Astrup to paint a new version instead. This resulted in Summer Wind and Children Playing, which Meyer purchased from Astrup in autumn 1913.

The atmospheres between these two versions are fundamentally different. While the focus in Children Playing focuses is on the disturbing and intimidating surroundings – which is expressed in the colour composition, this version is far more vibrant with light colour tones. The merry atmosphere is conveyed through the original title Astrup gave the work: “Kjærringa med staven” (The Old Woman with a Cane). This is a reference to the Norwegian folk song and stev traditions and circle game of the same name, and illustrated by the row of children in the painting. The motif and text is illustrated in the book Norsk Billedbog for Börn (Norwegian Picture Book for Children) from 1890, and it is reasonable to believe that Astrup had access to in this book during his childhood. 

In 1914 Astrup referred to the painting, together with Sunday (K112; 1913) as a new genre – while simultaneously characterising the idiom as a transitional phase. The change occurred after Astrup's trip abroad in 1911, which among other things included studies under Lovis Corinth at Arthur Lewin-Funcke’s the art academy in Berlin.  

Another title, “Windy Landscape”, is inscribed by Astrup on the reverse side of the canvas. This title draws attention to the way nature is behaving around the children. The wind plays with the treetops and grass fields, and combines the autumn colours together into a colourful palette. This is conveyed in a highly painterly manner, which is particularly visible in the painting’s middle ground.


Nikolai Astrup



Rasmus Meyer



Finn Meyer



Gerda Nyquist



Bergen kommune

1928-10-10 - 1928-11-4

Nikolai Astrup. Mindeutstilling



1928-11-11 - 1928-12-9

Nikolai Astrup. Mindeutstilling

Kristiania (Oslo)


1955-1-10 - 1955-12-31

Nikolai Astrup. Malerier og tresnitt



2011-5-14 - 2011-9-11

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



2017-3-3 - 2020

Nikolai Astrup Ut av skyggen



1914-5-15 - 1914-8

Jubilæumsutstillingen [1]

Kristiania (Oslo)


1914-8-29 - 1914

Jubilæumsutstillingen [2]

Kristiania (Oslo)


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

Bergens kommunale kunstsamlinger. Rasmus Meyers Samlinger. Katalog. Bergen: Bergens kommunale kunstsamlinger, 1978 [1955].