Brev

Astrup, Nikolai til Høst, Isabella; Høst, Sigurd
1909-12-23

Transkripsjon:

Tor Martin Leknes

Oversettelse:

Francesca Nichols

Side

  • 1,
  • 2,
  • 3,
  • 4,
  • 5,
  • 6,
  • 7,
  • 8,
  • 9
Transkripsjon
Oversettelse

Brev

Astrup, Nikolai til Høst, Isabella; Høst, Sigurd
1909-12-23
Brevs.531-66407, Nasjonalbiblioteket

9 sider

Transkripsjon: Tor Martin Leknes

Oversettelse: Francesca Nichols

Transkripsjon

Kjære Høst og frùe

Tùsind tak for Eders breve, som jeg

desværre ikke har besvaret för paa grund

af min daarlige helbred; – thi paa grùnd

af den stadige mangel paa nattesövn, 

som nù har varet lige siden i augùst, –

saa har naturen nù krævet sin ret over-

mig, saa at jeg har været overfaldt af en

træthed, som har gjort, at jeg har maat-

tet sove naarsomhelst dag eller nat

saasnart anfaldene af kvælning et öie-

blik forlod mig. Saaledes har jeg nù sovet

nogle timer hver nat med nogle timers

mellemrùm, naar anfaldene har været

slemest; og dagene har ogsaa for en stor

del gaaet tabt ved nogle timers sövn og

nogle timers kvælning. Den lille tid,

jeg da har været i nogenlùnde frisk

og i vaagen tilstand, har gaeet med til at

ordne mine gjældsforpligtelser hist og her

og til at sörge for at faa fat i veed

brændsel og levnetsmidler til hùset. 

Jeg er i den anledning röget ùklar med

lensmanden, som nù maa være ùden

brændsel i jùlen for min skyld –

jeg kjöbte nemlig op den eneste rest, 

som fandtes af brændsel i grænden

og det i dyre domme; thi her er en frygte-

telig efterspörgsel efter den vare, som

næsten ikke er at opdrive til sine tider. 

Dampskibet sluger om sommeren næsten

al den ved bygden kan prodùcere, og de

bönder, som bor nederst i bygden bringer

sin ved til Förde, hvor den betales med

mere end by pris. Dette sidste er for en del

ogsaa tilfælde med alle levnetsmidler, –

derfor er jeg i den senere tid bleven næsten

vegetarianer i det jeg væstentlig lever af me-

loner og bananer, som jeg faar fra Bergen.

Nok om alt dette. Det var for at ùndskulde

mig, – at jeg ikke tidligere har skrevet til

Eder, – jeg tænkte ogsaa, at jeg skùlde faaet

sendt Eder og Halvorsen nogle smaa bil-

leder, som I kùnde vælge imellem, da jeg

gjerne vilde have givet Eder et lidet

billede til jùl, som tak for, hvad I har

gjort for mig; – men tiden har ikke

strukket til, og sygdommen har hindret.

Her er ogsaa et frygteligt veir om dagene –

storm og snefyg – saa det er rent ufrem-

kommeligt for sneskavl – jeg kommer ofte

ikke udom dören hele dagen. Om natten,

naar jeg maa sidde oppe for ikke at kvæles

er her ofte isende koldt, da vinden trækker

gjennem det ùtætte loft. Dog mærker jeg

nù, at jeg har kraft til at stritte imod, naar

anfaldene kommer – en tid var jeg tilböielig

til at give mig rent over, og da fik sygdom-

men en frygtelig magt over mig. Nù har jeg

nemlig opdaget, at naar jeg kùn kan tænke

rigtig intenst paa en eller anden ting, helst

paa billeder og motiver og andre opgaver, jeg

har at gjöre i fremtiden, saa maa anfaldet

lidt efter lidt retirere. Dog er her en stor

fare, idet jeg er bange for, at jeg gjennem-

lever mine vordende billeder og er færdig

med dem længe för de kommer til prak-

tisk ùdförelse, – der gaar gjæring i dem,

medens de endnù kùn existerer i mit hoved.

Og naar jeg saa har et billede færdigt i hove-

det, ser jeg med foragt tilbage paa alle mine 

tidligere ting som smörrerier og pùslerier.

Eders sidste brev har forresten gjort mig

ùrolig for en sags vedkommende: Saa snart

kan det være gjort i denne verden at komme

ùd for en lögn – det var ikke nogen forsæt-

lig lögn {…} {…} af mig i allefald – jeg maa

have udtrykt mig daarligt, naar jeg tillagde

Meyer den tro, at I "satte op i pris" de billeder

som I forhandlede for Mùnch og mig. 

Men jeg erindrede i sommer, at De frù Höst

sagde i sommer, at "Meyer fik ikke an-

ledning at prùtte ned Mùnchs billeder

fordi Mùnch havde Höst til mellemmand

eller ùnderhandler". Da jeg nù foreslog Meyer

at sende billederne (til ham) gjennem Eder

II

("da jeg alligevel skulde sende billeder i

en kasse til Eder") saa paaböd han mig

indstændig at sende de billeder (som var

bestemt for ham) til ham selv directe, –

og da han endog sendte mig kasser at pakke

billederne i, saa mente jeg deri at se, at

Meyer kanske troede at I satte billederne

op for ham – deraf kom det, at jeg skrev

som jeg gjorde til Dem frù Höst: nemlig at

jeg handlede som jeg gjorde ligeoverfor Meyer

for at forhindre, at Meyer skùlde tro, at

I satte prisen op paa billeder fra saavel

Mùnch som mig – noget som jeg kùn fik

indtryk af, at Meyer troede; – thi Meyer

har aldrig ùdtalt noget saadant og mit 

indtryk maa ogsaa efter Eders sidste

oplysninger være feilagtigt, og jeg beder

Eder derfor om undskyldning for mine ord,

som ikke var beregnede paa at mistænkelig-

gjöre Meyer; jeg skal være forsigtigere

overfor sandheden herefter. Jeg troede som

regel, jeg skulde være det; – jeg vilde saaledes

ikke benytte mig af Deres raad, om at sige

til Meyer, at jeg var bùden 1000 kr. for det

store billede; – thi om det end, som De

sagde var sandt, at frù Mohr gjerne

gav dette belöb for billedet – saa havde

jeg jo ikke noget directe bùd paa et sådant

belöb – derimod var jeg i sommer bùden

et par hùndrede af en gjennemreisende

(en frk. Brùn) og jeg maatte love ikke

at sælge billedet under 400 för hùn fik

ùnderretning. Billedet var jo ogsaa mere

et stemningsbillede end et godt kùnst-

værk, saa det var troligt, at folk flest

vilde lige det bedre end de fleste af

mine andre billeder. Derfor syntes jeg ogsaa

at jeg maatte forlange saa meget som 500

af Meyer, – mere vilde jeg ikke forlange og

jeg fik öieblikkelig 400 kr. ùden prutning –

100 kr. skyldte jeg ham fra för, saa det

blev i alt 500 jeg fik.

Det skulde glæde mig meget, om I kùnde

have noget udbytte af handelen med Meyer

angaaende Mùnchs Nordstrandsbillede. 

Et portrait af Mùnch – enten selvportrait

eller et portrait af en af Eders kjære

maa jo blive til lige megen glæde for

Eder som Nordstrandsbilledet, – og naar

I er saa elskværdige over for Mùnch

at lade ham beholde fortjenesten, saa

synes jeg nok, Mùnch maa glæde sig til

at ùdföre et saadant portrait enten af en

af Eder, eller om I önskede det, af ham

selv.

Jeg har saa mange motiver og billeder

i hovedet, – hvad jeg hidtil har gjort

er bare forsög – famlende forsög henimod

personlighed i min kùnst – jeg har igjen

at gjöre mine egentlige billeder – og

jeg maa derfor blive saavidt frisk, at

jeg iallefald faar gjöre nogen af dem – 

det er ogsaa det ùgjorte som holder

mig oppe nù under sygdommen – jeg

vil nù ùnder sygdommen i ro tænke

igjennem det, jeg maa have gjort – mine

vigtigste motiver maa jeg se til at faa

gjort först, – det gjælder at plùkke

disse ùd, og se om jeg magter dem –

thi jeg föler mig for ùmoden til mangt

endnù. Jeg magter imidlertid intet for

tiden, – jeg kan være saa arbeidsnervös

og "iversyg" et öieblik, og naar jeg vel har

lagt farver paa paletten og skal arbeide,

saa synker jeg sammen i træthed og modlös-

hed. Det er ogsaa omtrent ùmùligt at

magte en ting bare ùd af hovedet, selv om

man har det aldrig saa klart for sig, man

maa da iallefald have noget "ferskt" i öinene.

De vanskeligste dele i motivet maa ialle-

fald være oplevet i en ikke altfor langt

tilbageliggende tid. Ja saa vil jeg da

faa lov at önske Eder en glædelig

jùl! Jeg haaber paa snarligt gjensyn

(engang straks over nytaar tænker jeg)

dog gaar det sent med min bedring, om

jeg end synes at mærke en begyndelse

til en saadan. God jùl! Eders hengivne

Nikolai Astrup

Konvolutt, framside:

Til

    Hr. Overlærer Sigurd Höst og frùe

Welhavensgd. 30

Bergen

Oversettelse

Dear Høst and Mrs 

Many thanks for Your letter, which I

unfortunately have not replied to sooner due

to my poor health; – On account of

the continuous lack of a night’s sleep,

which has now lasted since August, –

nature has claimed its dominance over

me, so that I have been stricken by a

fatigue, so overpowering, that I have had

to sleep at all hours of the day and night

as soon as the choking fits have subsided

for a second. I have thus slept for 

a few hours each night at intervals of

a few hours, when the seizures have been

most severe; and the days have also largely

been lost to a few hours of sleep and

a few hours of suffocating. The little time,

that I have been in a relative healthy

and wakened state, has been spent

sorting out my financial debts here and there

and in trying to get hold of wood

fuel and provisions for the household. 

I have in that connection become enemies with

the bailiff, who must now remain without

fuel during Christmas for my sake – 

for I bought up the only remaining

fuel to be found in the hamlet

and for an exorbitant price; for here there is a huge

demand for that commodity, which

is nearly impossible to come by at times.

In summer the steamboat devours almost 

all the firewood the village can produce, and the

farmers, who live in the low-lying part of the village bring

their firewood to Förde, where it is sold for

more than the price in the city. This latter fact is partly 

also the case with all the provisions, –

that is why I have lately nearly become

a vegetarian as I essentially live on mel-

ons and bananas, which I obtain from Bergen.

But enough of this. It was in order to excuse

myself, – for not having written to You

sooner, – I also thought, that I would manage to 

send You and Halvorsen a few small pic-

tures, that You might choose among, as I

would gladly have given You a little

picture for Christmas, in gratitude for what You have

done for me; – but I have not had

the time, and illness has prevented it.

The weather here has also been terrible lately –

storms and driving snow – so that it is virtually impossible to

get through because of the snowdrifts – I often don’t

go out the door all day. At night,

when I have to stay up in order not to suffocate

it is often freezing cold, when the wind blows

through the leaky loft. Although I feel

now, that I have the strength to resist, when

the seizures arrive – at one time I was inclined

to surrender myself entirely, and then the illness

gained a terrible power over me. But now I have

discovered, that if only I can concentrate

very intensely on something or other, preferably

on pictures and motifs and other tasks, that I

will work on in the future, then the seizure must

little by little retreat. Though there is a great

danger here, for I am afraid, that I live 

out my forthcoming pictures and am finished

with them before they are executed in

practice, – they begin to ferment,

while they still only exist in my head.

And then when I have a picture completed in my

head, I look back with distain at all my

earlier things as daubing and trifling. 

Your last letter has incidentally made me

uneasy with regard to one matter: How quickly

in this world one can become the victim 

of a lie – it was not a will-

ful lie {…} {…} on my part in any case – I must

have expressed myself poorly, when I attributed

Meyer with the belief, that You "raised the prices" of the pictures

that You negotiate for Mùnch and me. 

But I remember last summer, that You Mrs Höst

said last summer, that "Meyer did not have the op-

portunity to haggle over the price of Mùnchs pictures

because Mùnch had Höst as an intermediary

or dealer". When I recently suggested to Meyer

to send the pictures (for him) via You

II

("as I in any case was sending pictures in

a crate to You") he then bade me 

insistently to send the pictures (that were

intended for him) to him directly, –

and when he moreover sent me crates to pack

the pictures in, I thought I detected therein, that

Meyer perhaps believed that You raised [the price of]

the pictures for him – it was for that reason that I wrote

as I did to You Mrs Höst: namely, that

I acted as I did towards Meyer

in order to prevent Meyer from believing, that

You raised the price of the pictures from

Mùnch as well as me – something I merely had

the impression that Meyer believed; – for Meyer

has never expressed anything of the kind and 

after Your latest explanation my impression must

also be incorrect, and I therefore

ask You to forgive me for my words,

which were not intended to dis-

credit Meyer; I shall be more careful

regarding the truth hereafter. I thought 

that I was, basically; – Hence I will

not follow Your advice to say

to Meyer, that I was offered 1000 kroner for the

large picture; – for if, as You

say[,] it was true, that Mrs Mohr would

gladly offer this sum for the picture – I have

no direct offer for such an 

amount – on the other hand this summer I was offered

a couple of hundred by a someone passing through

(a Miss Brùn) and I had to promise not

to sell the picture for under 400 without

notifying her. The picture was also more

of an atmospheric picture than a good work

of art, so it is probable, that most people

would like it more than the majority of

my other pictures. I thus also thought

that I had to demand as much as 500

from Meyer, – I did not wish to ask for more

and I immediately received 400 kroner without haggling –

I owed him 100 kroner from before, so what

I received amounted to 500.

It would please me greatly, if You might 

have some benefit from the deal with Meyer

regarding Mùnch’s Nordstrand picture. 

A portrait by Mùnch – either a self-portrait 

or a portrait of one of Your loved ones

must surely be of equal pleasure for

You as the Nordstrand picture, – and when

You are so gracious towards Mùnch

as to allow him to retain the profit, then

I’m sure, Mùnch must look forward 

to executing such a portrait either of one

of Your [family], or if You wish, of him-

self.

I have so many motifs and pictures 

in my head, – what I have done so far

is only an attempt – a fumbling attempt to achieve

character in my art – I have as yet

to make my true pictures – and

I must therefore become well enough, so that

I can at least achieve some of them – 

it is in fact what I have left undone that keeps

me going during this illness – I

will now during the illness calmly think

through what I must accomplish – my

most important motifs I must try to

do first, – I must pick

them out, and see if I am able to do them –

for I still feel too immature for many

things. But I am barely able to do anything 

lately, – I can be so anxious to work

and "sick with impatience" one instant, but when I have

laid the paint out on the palette and am about to begin work,

I then collapse from fatigue and discourage-

ment. It is then practically impossible to

draw even one thing out of my mind, even though

one sees it as clear as day, one 

must then at least have something "fresh" in view.

The most difficult part of the motif must in any

case have been experienced in a not too

remote past. Well I would like

to wish You a Merry

Christmas! I hope that we shall soon meet again 

(some time after new year’s I imagine)

though my improvement is slow, I seem

to feel the beginning 

of such a possibility. Merry Christmas! You devoted

Nikolai Astrup

Envelope, front:

To

    Mr Headmaster Sigud Höst and Mrs

Welhavensgd. 30

Bergen