Midsummer Eve Bonfire

Oil on canvas, 1908 - 1908, [670] x [740] mm

Unknown owner

In conjunction with the work of the art historian Øystein Loge (1949–2023) to catalogue Astrup’s paintings in the 1980s, Kari Shetelig Hovland (1916–2006) reported that her grandparents Frida and Joachim Grieg (1849–1932) had two similar pictures of midsummer bonfires in their living room in Bergen. One of the versions was Midsummer Eve Bonfire (K124), but the other version, here also called “Midsummer Eve Bonfire”, is unknown.

Loge wondered whether this could be Midsummer Eve Bonfire (K55), but that cannot be the case, since this version stayed in another family's property from 1911 onwards. An almost identical copy of Midsummer Eve Bonfire, which is probably the unknown version, was shown in a newspaper in conjunction with a long-term loan to the Bergen Picture Gallery in 1939. The records of the collection confirm this, but they give no further indication of when the painting was removed from the collection.

Later, in 1965, the same picture appears in the exhibition catalogue for the Astrup exhibition held in Copenhagen.  The exhibition catalogue states that the unknown version of the bonfire is then owned by Hilmar Reksten, Bergen. The catalogue also refers to another version of the bonfire motif in Reksten's collection (K146). Comparing the measurements it looks like the information has been swapped between these two versions. The assumed measurements for the unknown version is therefore 67 x 74 cm.

Beyond this, its history is unknown. 

Technical description




Nikolai Astrup



Unknown acquisition method

Joachim Grieg



In custody of

Bergen Billedgalleri


Unknown acquisition method

Hilmar August Reksten


Exhibition history

Solo exhibition

1965-12-1 - 1965-12-19

Nikolai Astrup


Catalogue number 17

See exhibition

Group exhibition