Brev

Astrup, Nikolai til Abrahamson, Enok
1901-12-24

Transkripsjon:

Tor Martin Leknes

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Transkripsjon
Oversettelse

Brev

Astrup, Nikolai til Abrahamson, Enok
1901-12-24
Brevs.295-10127, Nasjonalbiblioteket

17 sider

Transkripsjon: Tor Martin Leknes

Transkripsjon

[1901] julaften

          Kjære Abrahamsen!

Det er júlaften i dag, og jeg

har nettop for et oieblik siden

modtaget Deres brev og Deres bog.

Mange tak for Deres opmærksom-

hed og venlighed, det er nok den

eneste júleklap, jeg faar iaar, saa

det var mig dobbelt kjært, da jeg

ogsaa fik Deres bog. Ja jeg har

har havt en storartet túr, det er 

bare, som jeg synes, at jeg kanske

kom lidt fortidlig eller kanske 

lidt forsent úd, det er i alle tilfæl-

de, som om det ikke var rigtig

paa det beleigligste tidspúnkt;

Thi meget af det, jeg har seet for-

stod jeg ikke helt. De spörger,

om jeg saa noget af Böklin, ja jeg

saa næsten ikke paa andet, hvor

jeg kom, efter at jeg först hadde seet

et billede af ham; men at fortæl-

le noget om dem kan jeg vist

neppe, og desúden hadde De jo

böger, hvor hans billeder var beskre-

vet rent storartet, men jeg kan jo

altid forsöge at fortælle hvad indtryk

jeg fik af dem, men jeg gjör Dem

paa forhaand opmærksom paa, at

min ortografi og skrift er únder 

al kritik. Ja hvad var der nú

egentlig om Böklin, jeg faar vist

lige godt begynde at fortælle

om reisen i almindelighed saa

kommer jeg vel til ham og saa. –

Jeg kom altsaa först til Kjöben-

havn, hvor jeg kedede mig jam-

merligt. Saa kom jeg til Lybek.

Det var dit var det vakkert syntes

jeg. Vi reiste op den grúnde 

floden hvor vi maate gaa med

sagte fart. Man fik en fölelse af

at være kommen til dette úrgoti-

ske eller úrgermanske, det var

vel de gammeldagse húsene, som

gjorde det, disse hoigavlede bratte

hústag med den mosgrode mörke og

saftig gronne torv, og saa var húse-

ne blaa eller röde med et eller 

andet graat imellem det var jo úhy-

re malerisk, som de laa der mellem

de svære bölgende agere af modent 3

korn, som vuggede sig höit og búet

de lige ned i floden, og indenfor

dem laa de "tirende" grönne

marker af spirende korn; vinter-

rúgen var næmlig netop saaet, og saa

kronglede únderlige trær i det fjerne.

Ind i mellem agrene laa de hvide broer

der búede sig over de búgtede kanaler, 

der förte op gjennem agrene til túne-

nene. Saa stod der ofte midt i agre-

ne et og andet træ, der strittede

op af den lange böiede halm som

en soplime, en og anden fiskebaad

seilede med graaskidne seil úd elven

lige únder ageren. Inde paa jorderne

holdt folk paa at saa vinterrúgen, og

ind over de sjærende grönne marker

laa sorte flekker af mög og kraaker.

Indimellem laa landskaber, der

mindede en om romantikken, borg-

lignende húse og höie og snaale med et

<lidet> vindús glúgge únder taget, og

omgivet af höie popler, og neden-

for i en fordýbning i landskabet

stod höie slanke trær, der havde

mistet lövet og nú tægnede sig

sig i rake, gronlige, blöde toner mod

den mörke granhækken ovenfor.

Saa kom jeg til Hambürg og gik

direkte op paa: "die Kunsthalle".

En masse god, gammel kjedelig

kúnst. Det eneste gode af de famle

syntes jeg var Franz Hals, hvert

penströg stod saa tydelig, som

det var indsat med slig fölelse,

ikke et úrigtig eller únödvendigt

penselströg, hvert lys, hver tone var

indsat med et eneste strög, derfor

fik det hele ogsaa saadant úal-

mindeligt liv. Saa kom jeg til

til de nye kúnstnere der; de var

endnú kjedeligere end de gamle,

men saa var det da Böklin. Jeg

synes ikke der er nogen kúnstner

jeg forstaar saa godt, som ham 

nú, men kanske han ogsaa er

let forstaaelig for alle; jeg kom

til hans billede: Das Sweigen im

Valde" jeg saa paa det og for-

stod först först ingen ting, var

det virkelig en orginal af den

beromte Böklin tænkte jeg; jeg 5.

havde jo seet reprodúction af

det, men alligevel tænkt mig

det ganske anderledes; et dyr

i en skog en kvinde paa dyrets

ryg, nei jeg var træt af alt det,

jeg havde det, jeg kúnde ikke for-

staa kúnst, trodde jeg; jeg begyn

begyndte at at stirre paa skogen

paa stammerne, de mosgrodde

næsten selvlysende grönne

stammer, faar úvilkaarlig en

fölelse af den betagende grönne

dúnkelhed mellem stammerne

i skogen, skogens stillhed og ro, – 

da levner der plúdselig noget i bil-

ledet, frem mellem stammerne

træder et flekket stirrende dyr,

det rörte sig tydelig, slamper med

hoven i jorden og stirrer. Det kom-

mer saa plúdselig, det er rød flek-

ket og stirrende, et levende súk

midt i den grönne ro og dúnkelhed.

Det bærer en kvinde med paa ryggen,

hún sitter der, som en liden skogtanke

med det dúnkle drömmende blik.

Der er noget eget over Böklins

billeder, det er förste gang, det

germanske blod i ós har faaet

lov til at sige noget af sig selv.

Hvor simpel blir ikke en mand

som Thorvald Eriksen ved siden af

Böklin, hos hvem alt er fölelse, og

Eriksen, hos hvem alle de brogede

farver igrúnden er theori, han

oplöser simpelthen farverne i sine

enkelte faktorer (de naturlige farver)

og saa stiller han dette regnbúe-

specter op op {...} slig, at den ene

grelle farve slaar den anden ihjæl,

saa at det endelig paa afstand

viser nogenlúnde rimeligt. Det er 

analyse og matthematik med for-

hold og og proportionále forhold. 

Og lige langt staar Böklin han næsten

fra denne gammeldagse <vamle>

idealisme. Jeg kom til en andet

billede af Böklin, et selv portrait

den samme ro og det samme dúnk-

le blik som hos kvinden paa dyrets

ryg den samme stemning i det hele

lige til de dybgrönne blade bag ham. 7

Saa var der et af ham som hed "den

hellige ild" Stille vand over en

græsmark, paa begge sider en ræk-

ke vældige trær, med mægtige ro-

lige lövmasser, hvor lyset lager

af dæmpet indover under de vældige

lövmasser, kroner, hvor der bræn-

der en ild paa et alter, blaa

rög stiger ret op, og paa de tyk-

ke stammer falder et mystisk

lys, man faar indtryk af at det

hele er indeslúttet af himmel-

höie múre. Under de dúnkle

kroner glider et tog af hvidklædte

skikkelser henover en sti, nogle

er naaet hen til alteret og tilbeder

kl knælende. Saa har han endel

slette portraiter i Hambúrg; thi Böklin

kan ogsaa gjöre slette ting. Men saa

har han da et storartet billede der, og

det er "Maria Magdalena", det er billede

som ikke kan beskrives, det er en

halvnögen kvinde, som helder sig bag-

over, farver saa sjære at man bare faar

8 fölelsen af graad. Haaret ligger

som en modsætning brændende

og gyldent nedover le legemet.

Saa kom jeg til Berlin, det förste

jeg lagde mærke til af malerier

var et billede fra Norge, det var

morsomt at se, hvorledes en

údenlandsk kúnstner opfattede

vor natúr. Natúrligvis höie

fjelde, med lange skygger

indhúggede i de besynderligste

former, med en mörkeblaa him-

mel, saa blaa at Italien har 

den <vistelig> ikke blaaere, knald-

hvide bomúldskyer, og en sæter

med smaa hus, og og en sol-

beskinnet gúlgrön sætervold, der

endte i et stup úd for i en afgrúnd

som, man kúnde ane sig til,

gik gjennem halve jorden, der

var forresten noget godt i den sætervol-

den; men den sjultes halvt af nogle

digre stene i forgrúnden, I Berlin

havde man faaresten en masse billeder

af 9 de gamle mestere, som jeg nú har seet alt det vigtig-

ste af; men som jeg har havt vanskelig for at forstaa, för

jeg kom til Paris. I Berlin havde man en hel del af den

nylig údgravne asyriske kúnst, den var storartet vakker,

kan De tro, men det blive for vidlöftigt at skrive om. Der

var ogsaa flere billeder af Böklin "Vaar" var et deiligt billede

en saftig grön eng med smörgúle blomster langs en stille aa

ved hvis bredder der voksede höie tykstammede trær med

spirende kviste, stammernes farve gav en saa intens fölelse af vaar.

I baggrúnden saa man en marmorvilla omgiven af mörke-

grönne sypresser, der stod saa svarte og friske mod den skyflek-

kede vaarhimmel, ja Böklin kan male vaarhimmel. Ved aaen

sidder et par, og údover langs aaen gaar en mand gammel og 

graahaaret, det er vinteren og nedenfor ligger havet. "Pieta".

Maria i sorg over kristi lig. At se det billede er som at staa

ved en strand, og en isende kold bölge skyller nedenfra opover

alle ens lemmer, farver som vilde bringe Werenskjold til at

rynke paa næsen. mere ærbödighed for ham! Kristi lig er den giftig kolde död i farver, en

grönfarve, som er úhyggelig lig edder, liget ligger paa en mar-

morblok af blaaligt halvt gjennemsigtigt flekket marmor,

en blomsterkrans i violette og grönne farver er búndet om blok-

ken, en himmel saa blaagrön og úveirstung, som en stormnat i

graad og regn, og saa Maria over liget svöbt i en kappe, saa

intensblaa, at man fryser ved at se den. "De helliges ö". En flod

paa hvis svart grönne flade, der svömmer hvide svaner, en centaúr

vader gjennem flodene bærende en kvinde paa sin ryg over til

     de saliges ö. Mörkegrönt græs med skygger af tætte trær, únder

         hvilke en mand og kvinde hviler i græsset, dansende kvinder

og en fjeldklöft med en únderlig grotte, ned for den mörke

åbning sildrer en bæk: mange flere var der og saa

af ham. Saa kom jeg til Dresden, der var bare to af ham

"Havets lunér", et stort billede. Et vældigt drönnende hav, hvor

lyset slipper blaagrönt gjennem de mægtige vandmas-

ser. I forgrunden en grinende brandflækket triton,

der favner en nereide som svömmer i en bölge-

dal. Øverst oppe i de lettere smaa bölger leger

to lystige delfin <jomfruer> "tag fat", og {...}

over en vældig bölgekam rider den svarte

vrinskende havhingst eller rettere centaúr,

som en kolos, der i sin djævelske graablan-

ke hæslighed giver et storartet indtryk

af den vældige magt, som siger frem

gjennem den höie kolde vandmasse.

Han er diabolsk og godmodig sam-

tidig, det er den túnge kraft. Det hele

billede er jo en storartet symbolisering

af havet <i> forskjellige former. Drag-

súget, {...} lette bölge <leg>, og den <drön-

nende> tonge masse. Pan faar være

til en anden gang. Saa kom jeg

Tekst nederst på siden "opp ned":

Du maa rigtig úndskylde

men at jeg sender Dem min

klad, men da jeg er 

meget syg kan

ikke om-

skrive

10. til München, der er jo Böcklins egentlige hjemsted, der saa jeg mange storartede billeder

af ham; men jeg faar kún nævne de vigtigste. "Cleopatra" var et billede

som úmúlig gjennem ord kan gives en forestilling om, det vil vist og-

saa vanskelig forstaaes af andre end malere eller billedhúggere, jeg

har kjöbt en reprodúction af det i fint lystryk, som De skal faa se. Saa var

det "Pan skræmmer en hyrde" Det er en brændende

  lúmmerhed dag, (man taler om spögelser ved höi-

    lys dag) men her havde man noget af denne tydelige

      úhyggelighed, lyse sommerdager disig lúft med

klar himmel, (mörkeblaa som al-

tid hos Böklin) alt er intenst

og tydeligt malet, solen er

höit paa himmelen og údsender

et knaldhedt solskin,

som falder over den törre

11. falder over den törre bakke, og den steghede fjeld-

væg hvorúnder en hyrde har lagt sig til hvile med 

sine faar, da dúkker plúdseligt Pan op mellem

nogle klippestykker, stilt men tydelig mod den

lúmmerhede disige himmel, man ser hyrden i ræd-

sel styrte ned over bakken, og rædselen har grebet

dyrene, man ser en væir ({…}) springe om kap med sin

herres {…}, og oppe mellem klippestykkerne stikker

Pan hodet i veiret og gliser skadefro ned paa de flygt-

ende. Hans billeder griber en mest ved sin plúdselig-

hed, et öieblik saa det "grösser" i en, og alligevel kan

man nyde synet af dem længe efter. Et af de mest

karakteristiske i den retning, er det billede, han

har malet til Göthes vers: Kjender dú klippen og dens

stier, múldyret söger sig vei gjennem skodden, og i

húler bor de gamle {...} drager. Inde i de mörke

fjeld gaar en smal spræk milevidt indigjenem med

steile klippevægge paa begge sider. Umådelig langt 

oppe i höiden kan man skimte en regntung himmel

og midt i klippen har menneskerne banet sig en smal

sti, hvor et lidet fölge kravler sig frem mod en bro, som

man ahner sig til kunde gaa gjenem hele verden.

Der er en evighed til lyset ovenfor og en evighed ned til hel-

vede under. Klipperne staar klamme og vaadglindsende, der

trækker en gufs gjennem sprækker og river i klærene

paa ham, som er kommen úd paa broen med sit muldyr.

Skodden hænger i regntunge flak ned over de <steile> klipper

Den drives langsomt nedover af regn höit der oppe; plúd-

selig standser hele fölget, det húker sig sammen, en rædsel

gaar gjennem dem, de har seet noget, – 

12. lige over dem hænger en vældig drage sig ú af klippen.

Den lader sig glide sleip og sjællet úd af sit uhyggelige

slidte húl i klippen, föler sig nedover den lodrette

klippevæg med sin brede flade vasne fod og gliser ned paa det

lille kryb, som kravler langs klippen. Det er som om menskerne

blir saa smaa, naar de möder urdyret, som har hersket i fjel-

dene för mensket blev skabt. Saa havde han nogle kjedelige nymfe

billeder nymfer ved kilder o.s.v. Böklin kan ogsaa gjöre kjedelige ting.

Men saa kom jeg til hans "Villa am Meer", der var to údgaver af

det samme landskab, den samme aand over dem begge, men

dog saa úendelig kontrære i stemningen. Gamle marmor pa-

ladser overskygges af vældige túnge sypresser, hvori vaarvinden en

aften súser saa sælsomt og bringer længsel údover mod

havet, dette dybe, úndelige og úendelige. Under muren nedenfor

paladset, staar en kvinde og stirrer údover havet; men der {...} farve

i billedet, det er haab og denne varme únderklang af vaar, der

dog kan gjöre en saa sorgtúng, det er længselen údover; men

saa er det dog alligevel vaar, trærene spirer ovenfor i haven, de

blomstrende syriner i de dúnkle skygger af sypresserne, og

múrværket, hvor kalken er af faldt nede ved jorden, saa man

skimter den röde múrsten únder, det gir alt en fölelse af det

zarte ved vaaren, varmen og lidenskaben, der slúmrer un-

der længselen, – denne dúggede, skyggede mark únder

de vældige, mörkegrönne, dúnkle popler, hvorover aften-

röden i vaarnatten káster et vagt sjær; Den mörke dúg-

gede dúnkelhed, men slúmrende varme i en vaar med håb.

Saa er det det andet, det samme landskab det samme vakre

marmorpalads, trappen op til det, den mosgrodde múr ned

mod havet, det er det samme men haabet er borte, kún læng-

selen er igjen hos kvinden, som staar der. Det er lys dag,

en súr höstvind jager úbarmhjertig gjennem poplerne,

bryter <greine>, fraader havet, som siger i dönninger ind over stran-

den indenfor baaerne, siger der grönlig hvid, trist og haablöst;

ja haablöst stirrer ogsaa kvinden údover havet, sammensúnken

staar hún paa samme jelet som i vaar, der er en úndergang,

noget úopfyldt af hvad vaaren gav haab om. Poplerne har

13. tabt sin friske grönne farve og alt er viet til ödelæggel-

sen, man har fölelsen af at staa foran en rúin, det er som

om selve paladset skúlde synke sammen om en liden

stund. Over det hele súser den súre höstvind, og pisker

det salte havdrev over den sortklædde kvindes hvide an-

sigt – ja det er havet, det er det, som bringer tristheden,

det graver en grotte únder paladsets múrværk, trist som

en ligkiste. Havet siger ind over stranden ikke i mæg-

tige rúllende bölger, men i sigende skúmfyldte dönninger.

saa har han et billede af en hyrde, som klager sin kjærlighed for

den sjönne úangribelige i húlen. En sval saftigrön skog med knald-

röde blomster over en nögen yngling, der spiller flöite, medens en kvin-

de lytter i en grotte med et blaagrönlig dúnkelt lys. Saa er det et

billede af en morder, som nettop skal reise sig efter fúlbragt

gjerning; da staar der plúdselig for ham tre hvidklædte kvinder

og hindrer ham fra at forlade stedet, det kolde údtryk i deres

ansigter er en samme fölelse som den regnfyldte mark med

det lange vaade græs. Saa var det atter et vaarlandskab. En vaar-

himmel, som kún Böklin kan male den. Skydottet {…} {…}

nettop. Lidt af regnen sidder endnú igjen, og de spirende trær staar

friske efter regnen, et par vandrer sammen únder de höie trær. Bort

<over> den <dybrönne> <eng> spirer de smörgúle blomster, hvor nogle

nögne barn leger og rúller sig i græsset ved en brönd. Over er et

lidet palads, der stikker frem, halvt sjult af blomstrende syri-

ner paa altanen og sprættende trær alt er fúgtig som efter en nylig

regn. Endnú et vaarlanskab. Paa en höi staar et gammelt palads

omgivet af svarte cypresser mod en klar vaarhimmel. I forgrúnden

en saftig grön med kraftige livsgrönne farver, som en hæk med gamle

trær, mellem hvis dúnkle stammer en blaaklæd kvinde gaar og drömmer

"Vandringen til Emaús", et landskab saa stormende og regnfúldt, som

graad hele billedet, over en <fden> <klop> gaar de tre og over höien skimtes

ruiner og húse. "Döden <rider> gjennem hösten" er det mest storar-

tede i farve. Et höstlandskab, hvor stormen hylende og kastende

vrænger alle trær, en himmel dækket af svarte skyer, så lyset

kún slipper gjennem en glyt og kaster et skarpt úhyggelig glimt

henover veien, hvor döden rider vigende sin svarte hingst ind únder et

skyggende træ, der er noge húse, og om man bare saa farven paa muren,

14. vilde man straks have fölelsen af den hylende höststorm. –

Nei nú faar det være nok om Böklin. De spöger om jeg

föler mig beslægtet med B., nei det synes jeg ikke, jeg kan sige;

men jeg forstaar ham. Nú begynder mörket, saa smaat at sive

ind gjennem gardinerne, det er jo júlaften i kveld, jeg maa hen til

vindúet og faa det op, en varm vind blafrer ind fra byen, det er

júleveir i Paris, ikke med snefald og blaalig vinterstemning, nei

med en varm taaget himmel og fint dúschregn; mörket begynder

at samle sig i de trange smågader, – nú tændes lysene i Paris.

De store cafeer straaler, folk strömmer ind i massevis; thi Pari-

serne feirer sin júl i cafeer; men jeg gaar ikke paa cafe i aften.

Jeg tænder en cigaret og böier mig úd vindúet, saadan dei-

lig varm vind, jeg stryger cigaret asken af paa den tykke bly-

rende únder vindúet og ser ned i gaden. – Hústagene staar

saa mörke, og himmelen er varm fra alt lyset i Paris. Hele 

himmelen er som en vældig mat lampekúppel, det

blafrer i den af et lys, som holder paa at slukne. Nede

paa garden gaar, piger med lyse forklæder, og mörke vogne

hvoraf man kún skimter de gúle hjúl. Paa de vaade

hústag flakker spelingen af en svart skorsten, og langt

borte i rækken af de mörke hústag, lyser et lidet tag-

vindú, det er vel en, som sidder hjemme ligesom

jeg; og langt bortover strækker sig den lange vakre linie

af hústagene, som staar saa skarpe mod himmelen.

Úden denne evindelighed af telefontraade, som i Xania

Ja i Xania skúlde det været hyggeligt at være i julen,

men det er alligevel saa rart med det, det er ligesom

jeg er kommen i júlestemning lige vel, jeg kan le af den

mindste ting, der er noget mildt og varmt i luften,

som smitter, jeg har været doven i dag, har bare gaaet

paa cafeer, men jeg kan aligevel ligesom ikke være

rigtig <sindt> paa mig selv heller, herregúd, det er jo

júlaften i kveld har dú ingen at gaa úd til

15. eller tale med, saa faar dú jammen være lidt snild

mod mig ogsaa, jeg vil tænde begge lysene, i de höie lyse-

stagerne paa ovnene, ogsaa fyrer jeg for en gangs skyld

i ovnen, de ovenene er aabne her i Paris, saa jeg kan til nöd ind-

bilde mig, at det er en peis; saa vil jeg tage frem Ab-

rahamsens bog og lese i, eller kanske jeg skúlde lede op

salmebogen og synge en júlesalme for at komme rigtig

i júlestemning, det kúnde vel trænges, thi jeg har ikke

hört noget af det slaget, siden jeg var i Jölster, og det var i oct.

Nei jeg vælger alligevel Abrahamsens bog. Her blir 

alligevel ikke júlestemning her i Paris, ikke norsk da.

Nú har jeg læst alle Deres digte gjennem Abrahamsen.

Jeg vil ikke öve nogen kritik over den, jeg vil bare

sige, at jeg syntes, de var deilige og gav mig et púst

fra Norge. Det er blit sent paa kvelden kl. er 1, skal tro-

de tegner oppe paa attelieret nú, kanske jeg skúlde gaa

did op ogsaa, jeg trænger godt tegne mest múligt –

Nú gaar franskmændene og synger gjennem gaderne

jeg er nettop hjemkommen fra attelieret, jeg var

saa forfærdelig fornöiet med mig selv idag, at jeg

er ræd for, at jeg tegned frygtelig slet, jeg kjender

til det fra för af, naar jeg er fornoiet med mig

selv. Jeg har kjöbt mig lidt júlekort og nú skal jeg

<feire> júl alene, jeg har en flaske champagne og brændte

kastanjer og sardeller, nei det er sent, jeg faar vel

slútte for i aften. Saa langt var jeg kommen paa

brevet da der hændte mig noget uhyggeligt

i dag har vi den 29de, gúd veed, hvor dagene er gaat

hen. Jeg sidder paa værlset og var törst, bad saa

garsonene skaffe mig rent vand paa karaffelen,

og saa drak jeg af den og faar pludeslig saa

ondt i halsen, det gaar opover til hodet

og jeg trodde næsten jeg skúlde falde over, men

fik krabbet mig bort i sengen og fik det vigtigste

af klæder af mig og sovnet i samme minutten.

Det var en dös, som var rent úhyggelig, jeg

saa at det blev lyst, og det blev mörkt, og

syntes jeg saa en mand inde i værelset, han

stod foran sengen. Jeg vaagner, og det var nat

igjen og laa vaat i de frygteligste smerter i

hoved og hals, det blev lyst, og jeg döset af igjen,

jeg vågned, og det var nat igjen, laa saa halv-

vågen til det blev lyst og saa pludselig en

mand staa foran sengen; det var opvarteren

"De har sovet længe" sa han paa fransk "önsker

De noget?", "nei" sa jeg, og han gik. Det begyndte

at gaa op for mig at jeg maatte have sovet 

i flere dager og <saa> <begyndte> jeg at spekulere

paa hvordan opvarteren var kommen ind paa værel-

set, da erindrede jeg, at dören ikke var laast, syg,

som jeg var, for jeg op og úndersögte mine lommer

ganske rigitg en liden pose, som jeg altid havde

gúldmynt i var forsvúnden; der var omkring en 80

kroner i den, men jeg var saa elendig, at jeg bare

krabbede i seng igjen og var næsten ligeglad om

pengene; i dag er jeg lidt bedre, men har endnú

frygtelige smerter i hode og halsen. Jeg synes <her>

begynder at blive úhyggelig i Paris, og jeg vil 

iallefald flytte til et andet hotel, naar jeg nú

bare blir frisk, jeg har ikke smagt mad siden

júlaften, jeg er ikke istand til at spise noget. –

Jeg faar slige uhyggelige mistanker til opvarteren 

og hottelet, det kan hænde jeg tar feil, men jeg

tror næsten, de vil forgive mig, jeg skal ialfald

ikke smage deres vand ofere, nú længes jeg til

Norge N. Astrup

Konvolutt, framside:

Til

Forfatteren Enok Abrahamsen

                             Oslogade 2-3?

                               Oslo

                             Kristiania Ø

                           Norvege

Oversettelse

[1901] Christmas Eve

        Dear Abrahamsen!

It is the eve of Christmas today, and I

have just a second ago

received Your letter and Your book.

Many thanks for Your atten-

tion and kindness, it is certainly the

only Christmas gift I will receive this year, so

I treasured it twice as much, when I 

also received Your book. Yes I have

had a wonderful trip, it is 

just that I feel that I was perhaps

a little too early or perhaps a little

too late in going, in any case it

feels as though it was not

the most convenient timing; 

For much of what I have seen I

did not quite understand. Everyone asks

whether I saw any of Böklin’s works, well I

practically did not see anything else, wherever 

I went, after first having seen 

one picture by him; but I seem

hardly able to say anything

about them, and in addition there were

books, in which his pictures were des-

cribed quite eloquently, I can of 

course attempt to describe the impression

I got of them, but I would like to

warn you ahead of time that 

my orthography and handwriting leaves

much to be desired. Well what is it

about Böklin, I might just 

as well begin by telling

about the trip in general and then 

I will come to him as well. –

I arrived first at Copen-

hagen, where I was bored to

death. Then I arrived at Lybek.

I found it much more beautiful

there. We travelled up the shallow

river where we were forced to advance at

a slow pace. One had the feeling of 

having arrived at the cradle of Gothic  

culture or Germanic culture, perhaps

it was the old-fashioned houses that

created this effect, those tall-gabled steep 

roofs with moss-covered dark and

lush green turf, and then the houses

were blue or red with something or

other grey in between. it was un-

believably painterly, the way they stood there between

the enormous wavy fields of ripe 3

grain, that undulated high and [then] bowed

straight down to the river, in between

them were "titillating" green

fields of budding grain; the winter

rye had just been sown you see, and

strange crooked trees in the distance.

In-between the fields there were white bridges 

that arched over the meandering canals, 

which ran up through the fields to the farm-

yards. And then in the middle of the

fields an occasional tree stood, which protruded

up from the bowed straw like

a broom, an occasional fishing boat

glided with dirtied sails down the river

just below the field. In the fields

people were sowing the winter rye, and

distributed across the dazzling green fields

were black specks of dung and crows. 

Now and again one could see landscapes, that

reminded one of Romanticism, castle-

like houses and tall and peculiar [ones] with a

<little> peep-hole window beneath the roof, and

surrounded by tall poplars, and be-

low in a depression in the landscape

was a stand of slender trees, which had

lost their foliage and were now sketched

in vertical, translucent green tones against 

the dark pine hedge above them.

Then I arrived at Hamburg and went

directly up to: "die Kunsthalle".

Lots of good, old dreary

art. The only good one among the old

in my opinion was Franz Hals, each

brushstroke was so articulated, as though

it was applied with great emotion,

not one false or superfluous

brushstroke, each light, each tone was

applied with one single stroke, that is also

why the whole thing was filled with such un-

common vitality. Then I came 

to the new artists there; they were

even more tedious than the old,

but then there was Böklin. I

do not believe that there is any other artist

I understand so well, as him

today, but perhaps he is also

easily understood by everyone; I walked up

to his picture: ["]Silence of

the Forest" I looked at it and under-

stood nothing at first first, was

it really an original of the

famous Böklin I thought; I 5.

had of course seen a reproduction of

it, but I had nevertheless imagined

it to be quite different; a creature

in a forest, a woman on the creature’s

back, no I was tired of all that,

I had it, I could not under-

stand art, I thought; I began

began to stare at the forest,

at the tree trunks, the moss-covered

almost iridescent green

trunks, [when I] was involuntarily gripped by a

sense of the poignant green 

murkiness between the tree trunks

in the forest, the silence and serenity of the forest, – 

then something in the picture suddenly

stirs, a speckled gazing creature steps 

out from between the tree trunks, 

it moved perceptibly, stamps the ground

with its hoof and glares. It hap-

pens so suddenly, it is simply spec-

kled and glaring, an incarnate sigh

in the midst of the green silence and murkiness.

It carries a woman on its back,

she sits there, like a little notion of the forest 

with her dark dreamy gaze.

There is something special about Böklin’s

pictures, it is the first time the 

Germanic blood in us has been

allowed to say something about itself.

How simple a man like 

Thorvald Eriksen becomes next to

Böklin, in whom everything is emotion, and

Eriksen, in whom all the motley

colours are theory when it comes down to it, he

merely dissolves the colours into their

individual elements (the natural colours)

and then he arranges this rainbow 

spectrum in such a way, that one

screeching colour obliterates the other,

so that at a distance it finally

appears somewhat believable. It represents

analysis and mathematics in

a proportional relationship. 

And like Böklin he stands nearly as distant

from this old-fashioned <nauseating>

idealism. I came to another

picture of Böklin, a self-portrait,

the same serenity and the same murk-

y gaze as in the woman on the creature’s

back, altogether the same atmosphere

even including the deep-green foliage behind him. 7

Then there was one by him that was called "the

sacred wood" Still water covering a

grassy glade, on both sides a row

of massive trees, with voluminous tran-

quil masses of leaves, where the suffused

light illuminates inward beneath the voluminous

mass of leaves crowns, where a fire

is burning on an altar, blue

smoke rises straight up, and onto the

broad tree trunks, a mystical light

falls, one has the impression that it

is all enclosed by a sky-

high wall. Under the dark

canopies a procession of white-clad 

figures glide along a path, a few

have reached as far as the altar and are worshipping

on their knees. Then he has a number of

poor portraits in Hamburg; for Böklin

can also do poor work. But then again

he also has a magnificent picture there, and

that is "Maria Magdalene", it is [a] picture

that cannot be described, it is a

semi-nude woman, who is reclining back-

ward, [the] colours so delicate that one actually gets

8 the feeling of lament. Her hair falls

in contrast, blazing

and golden down her body.

Then I arrived in Berlin, the first thing

I took notice of among the paintings 

was a picture of Norway, it was

amusing to see, how a 

foreign artist perceived 

our nature. High mountains

naturally, with long shadows

carved into the most peculiar

shapes, with a dark blue

sky, so blue that Italy <evidently>

cannot boast of anything bluer, pristine

white cotton clouds, and a mountain grazing farm

with small cabins, and and sun-

drenched yellow-green mountain pasture, which

ends at a cliff at the brink of a chasm

that, if one uses ones imagination, presumably

plunged down through half the earth, there 

was in fact something accomplished about the pas-

ture; but it was half-hidden by some

huge boulders in the foreground, In Berlin

there were by the way a lot of pictures

by 9 the old masters, of which I have now seen the most

important; but which I have had difficulty in understanding, until

I arrived in Paris. In Berlin there was a lot of the

newly excavated Assyrian art, it was magnificently beautiful,

I assure You, but it would require too much effusion to write about it. There

were also several pictures by Böklin. "Spring" was a lovely picture

a lush green meadow with butter-yellow flowers by a quiet stream

along whose banks tall trees grew with broad trunks and

budding branches, the colour of the trunks produced such an intense feeling of spring.

In the background one could see a marble villa surrounded by dark

green cypresses, which stood so black and lush against the cloud-

spattered spring sky, yes Böklin can paint a spring sky. By the stream

a couple sits, and a man, old and grey-haired, walks

towards the horizon along the stream, he represents winter and the sea lies below. "Pieta".

Maria mourning over the dead body of Christ. To look at that picture is like standing

by the shore, and an ice cold wave washes over one’s limbs

from the bottom upwards, colours that would prompt Werenskjold to

wrinkle his nose more reverence for him! Christ’s body is the epitome of pestilential cold death in colour, a

green shade that is appallingly similar to venom, the corpse is laid out on a mar- 

ble slab of bluish semi-transparent veined marble,

a garland of flowers in violets and greens is arranged around the 

slab, a sky so blue-green and heavy with storm, like a stormy night in

grey and rain, and then Maria lying over the corpse shrouded in a cape, of 

such an intense blue, that one freezes when looking at it. "The Isle of Life". A river

on whose black-green surface, white swans swim, a centaur

wades through the river carrying a woman on his back over to

  the island of the redeemed. Dark green grass with the shadows of dense trees, under

   which a man and woman rest in the grass, dancing women

    and a cleft in the rock with a peculiar grotto, down from the dark 

     opening a brook runs: many more were there to see

      his work. Then I arrived at Dresden, there were only two of his [works] there.

       "The whims of the sea", a large picture. An enormous thunderous ocean, where 

         the light slips blue-green through the great mass of 

          water. In the foreground a grinning sun-blistered triton 

           captures a nymph who is swimming in the trough of the

            wave. Above in the lighter smaller waves two

              merry dolphins <maidens> are playing "tag", and {...}

               on the crest of a wave a black

                whinnying seahorse or more precisely a centaur,

                 rides like a colossus, which in its diabolical glistening grey

                  hideousness makes a magnificent impression 

                   of the mighty force that seeps forth

                    through the towering cold mass of water.

                     He is diabolical and good-natured at

                      the same time, he represents the mighty force. The entire

                       picture is of course a magnificent symbolic representation 

                        of the sea <in> its various forms. The under-

                         tow, {...} light waves {...}, and the <thun-

                          dering> mighty mass. Pan can wait

                           for another time. Then I arrived

Text at the bottom of the page "upside down":

You must truly pardon me

but for sending You my

draft, but since I am

very ill [I] can-

not re-

write

now

at Munich, which is Böcklin’s actual home, there I saw many magnificent pictures

by him; yet I will only mention the most significant. "Cleopatra" was a picture

that is impossible to describe in words, it would presumably al-

so be difficult for anyone but painters or sculptors to understand, I

have purchased a reproduction of it in a photo emulsion print, which I will show You. Then there

was "Pan frightening a shepherd". It is a sweltering

  sultry day, (we are talking of ghosts in bright

   daylight) yet here one had something of that visible

    eeriness, the hazy air of a summer day with a

     clear sky, (dark blue as al-

      ways with Böklin) everything is intensely

       and distinctly painted, the sun is

        high in the sky and radiates

         a scorching sunlight, 

          that falls on the dry

11. falls on the dry ground and the scorching 

cliff under which a shepherd has laid down to rest with 

his sheep, that is when Pan suddenly appears in-between

some boulders, inaudibly yet clearly [visible] against the

sultry hazy sky, one sees the shepherd dashing

down the slope in terror, and the terror has gripped

the animals, one saw a {...} racing against his

masters {...}, and from between the rocks Pan

sticks his head up and grins maliciously down at those who 

are fleeing. His pictures grip one most of all with their unfore-

seenness so that one "shudders" inside, yet nevertheless one

can enjoy the sight of them for a long time afterwards. One of the most

characteristic in this sense is the picture he

has painted to illustrate Göthe’s verse: Do you know the mountain and its

paths, the mule makes its way through the mist, and in

the caves the old dragons live. Within the dark 

mountains a narrow crevice runs for miles in-between with

steep cliffs on both sides. Far far 

above at the summit one can glimpse a sky heavy with rain

and in-between the cliffs humans have built a narrow

road, where a little group makes its way with difficulty towards a bridge, which

one can imagine might span the entire world.

An eternity separates them from the light above and an eternity from perdition

below. The cliffs are clammy and glistening with moisture, a

draft seeps through the crevices and tugs at the clothes

of the one, who has arrived halfway across the bridge with his mule.

The mist hangs in rainy sheets down the <steep> cliffs

It is driven slowly downward by the rain way up there; all of

a sudden the entire group stops, huddles together, panic

races through them, they have caught sight of something, –

12. immediately above them a giant dragon hangs over the edge of the cliff.

It glides slithering and scaly out of its hideous

weather-beaten cave in the cliff, makes its way down the vertical

rock face with its broad flat drenched foot grinning down at the 

little creatures that are crawling past the cliff. It is as though the humans

become small, when they encounter the beast that has ruled in the mount-

ains [since] before mankind was created. Then he had some dreary pictures

of nymphs by a spring, etc. Böklin can also make dreary things.

But then I came upon his "Villa by the Sea", there were two versions of

the same landscape, the same spirit over them both, but 

nevertheless so enormously contrary in mood. Old marble pal-

aces are overshadowed by massive dense cypresses, through which a spring breeze

rustles so mysteriously one evening, carrying the yearning out to 

sea, these infinite fathomless depths. Beneath the bulwark below

the palace, a woman stands gazing out to sea; but there {...} colour

in the picture, there is hope and this warm undercurrent of spring, which

can nevertheless make one mournful, it represents the yearning to be out there: but

it is spring nonetheless, trees are budding in the garden,

lilacs blossoming in the murky shadows of the cypresses, and the

masonry, where the mortar has fallen to the ground, so that

one can glimpse the red brick beneath it, imbues it all with the feeling of how

delicate spring is, the heat and the passion, that slumbers be-

neath the yearning, – this misty, shadowy ground beneath

the enormous, dark-green, murky poplars, over which the even-

ing red of a spring night casts a faint glow; The dark hu-

mid murkiness, with the dormant heat of a spring filled with hope.

Then there is the other one, the same landscape the same handsome

marble palace, the stairway leading up to it, the moss-covered bulwark down

to the sea, facing the sea, it is the same yet the hope is gone, yearn-

ing is all that remains for the woman standing there. It is daylight,

a bitter autumn wind chases mercilessly through the poplars,

breaks <branches>, causes the sea to foam, and its swells to surge in over the

shore past the reefs, [they] surge greenish white, sombre and without hope;

yes even the woman gazes out to sea without hope, drooping now she

stands in the same ravine as in the spring, it represents decline,

the unfulfilled promise of spring. The poplars have

13. lost their vibrant green colour and everything is dedicated to de-

cay, one has the feeling of standing in front of a ruin, it is as

though the villa itself might soon 

collapse. Above it all a bitter autumn wind blows, and whips

the salty sea mist into the white countenance of the woman dressed

in black – yes it is the sea, that is what brings on the melancholy,

it digs a grotto under the villa foundation, sombre as 

a tomb. The sea seeps in over the shore not in mighty

rolling waves, but in surging foam-crested swells.

Then he has a picture of a shepherd, who laments his love for

the unassailable beauty in the cave. A cool lavish green forest with vibrant

red flowers above a naked youth, who is playing a flute, while a wom-

an listens in a grotto with a bluish green murky light. Then there is a

picture of a murderer, who has just stood up after committing

the deed; then three white-clad woman suddenly appear before him

and prevent him from leaving the scene, the cold expression in their

faces has something of the same feeling as the rain-soaked field with 

the long wet grass. Then there is yet another spring landscape. A spring

sky, as only Böklin can paint it. Spotted with clouds, {...} {...} just

now. A bit of rain still remains, and the budding trees are

fresh after the rain, a couple sit together under the tall trees. Dispersed

<across> the <deep green> {...} butter-yellow flowers are budding, a group of 

naked children is playing and frolicking in the grass by a well. Above them is

a little mansion, which protrudes, half-hidden by flowering li-

lacs on the balcony and verdant trees, everything moist as after a recent

rainfall. Yet another spring landscape. On a hill an old villa stands

surrounded by black cypresses against a clear spring sky. In the foreground

a lush green with vibrant living green colours, like a stand of old

trees, between the trunks of which a woman in blue wanders dreamily.

"The Pilgrims of Emmaús", a landscape so stormy and full of rain, as though

the entire picture wept, over a {...} {...} three pilgrims walk and above on a hill

one can glimpse ruins and houses. "The <ride> of Death" the most magni-

ficent in colour. An autumn landscape, where the storm howling and thrashing 

twists all the trees, a sky covered in black clouds, so that the light

only slips through a small gap and casts a sharp eerie flash

on the road, where death rides its black stallion retreating under a

protective tree, there are some houses, and if one merely saw the colour of the wall,

one would instantly experience the feeling of a howling autumn storm. –

Well, enough said about Böklin. You ask me if I

feel related to B., no I don’t think I could say that;

but I understand him. Darkness has just now barely begun to seep

in through the curtains, it is Christmas Eve, I must go over to the 

window and open it, a warm wind is wafting in from the city, this is

Christmas weather in Paris, no snowfalls or blue-tinted winter atmospheres, but

a warm foggy sky and fine misty rain; darkness has begun

to gather in the narrow alleys, – the lights are being turned on in Paris now.

The large cafés are aglow, large crowds of people are streaming into them; for Pari-

sians celebrate their Christmas in cafés; but I am not going to spend my evening in a café.

I light a cigarette and lean out of my window, such a love-

ly warm wind, I sweep the cigarette ash into the thick lead 

trough under the window and look down at the street. – The roofs of the buildings

lie in darkness, and the sky is warm from all the lights in Paris. The entire

sky is like the muted dome of a lamp, it 

flickers from a light, which is about to expire. Down 

in the courtyard young girls pass by wearing white pinafores, and dark carriages 

of which one can only glimpse their yellow wheels. On the wet

rooftops the flickering reflection of black chimneys, and far

off along the line of dark rooftops a little skylight

window glows, most likely someone, who is staying at home like

me; and the long lovely line of rooftops stretches far into

the distance, which creates such a sharp contrast against the sky.

Without this infinity of telephone wires, as in Xania [Oslo].

Well it would have been nice to be in Xania for Christmas,

yet it is strange nevertheless, it is as though 

I have gotten into the Christmas spirit after all, and I can laugh at the

smallest things. there is something balmy and warm in the air,

which is contagious, I have been indolent today, have done nothing but

frequent cafés, yet I cannot be

so very <angry> with myself either, good lord, it is 

Christmas Eve after all. this evening you have no one to visit

15. or converse with, so by golly you’d better be a little kind

towards me too, I will light both candles, in the tall candle-

sticks, and I will also start a fire in the stove

for once, the stoves here in Paris are open, so I can at least pre-

tend that it is a fireplace; and then I will pull out Abra-

hamsen’s book and read it, or perhaps I should look for

my psalm book and sing a Christmas psalm in order to really get

into the Christmas spirit, for I have not

heard anything of that kind, since I was in Jölster, and that was in Oct.

No I’ll choose Abrahamsen’s book just the same. There won’t be

any Christmas spirit here in Paris in any case, at least not Norwegian.

Now I have read through all of Your poems Abrahamsen.

I will not conduct any critique of it, I merely wish

to say that I think they are lovely and gave me a taste

of Norway. It has become late in the evening, it is 1 o’clock, I ima-

gine they are drawing now up in the studio, perhaps I should go

up there too, it would be good for me to draw as much as possible – 

Now the French are walking through the streets singing

I have just returned from the studio, I was

so terribly satisfied with myself today, that I

am afraid that I made some terrible drawings, I have 

experienced that before, when I have been satisfied with 

myself. I have purchased a few Christmas cards and now I shall

<celebrate> Christmas alone, I have a bottle of champagne and roasted

chestnuts and anchovies, well it is late, so I should

end it for this evening. I had come so far in

the letter when something terrible happened to me.

today is the 29th, god knows how the days

have passed. I was sitting in my room and was thirsty, so I asked

the garçon to fetch me clean water in a carafe,

and then I drank from it and suddenly felt a

pain in my throat, it travelled up to my head

and I thought I would nearly collapse, but

managed to crawl over to my bed and took off most 

of my clothes and fell asleep instantly.

I was in a daze that was absolutely horrifying, I

could see that it was light out, and then dark, and 

I thought I saw a man in my room, he

stood in front of my bed. I awoke, and it was night

again and [I] had wet the most horrible pain in

my head and throat, there was daylight, and I dozed off again,

I awoke and it was night again, lay there half

awake until daylight and suddenly saw a

man standing in front of my bed; it was the waiter

"You have slept a long time" he said in French "do You

wish for anything?", "no" I said, and he left. It began

to dawn on me that I must have slept

for several days and <then> I <began> to speculate

about how the waiter had got into the

room, then I remembered that the door was not locked, ill 

as I was, I quickly got up and examined my pockets

just as I thought, the little string purse, which I always kept

gold coins in was gone; there had been around 80

kroner in it, but I was in such a miserable state that I merely

crawled back into bed and was almost indifferent about

the money; today I am a little better, but still have a

terrible pain in my head and throat. I feel that <here> things

are beginning to get unpleasant in Paris, and I will

at least move to another hotel, as soon as

I am well, I have not tasted food since

Christmas Eve, I am not able to eat anything. –

I am beginning to suspect the waiter of sinister things

and the hotel too, I may be mistaken, but I 

almost believe that they wish to poison me, I shall in any case

never taste their water again, now I long to return to

Norway N. Astrup

Envelope, front:

To

The writer Enok Abrahamsen

                             Oslogade 2-3?

                               Oslo

                             Kristiania Ø

                           Norvege