Brev

Astrup, Nikolai til Høst, Isabella; Høst, Sigurd
1914-04-20

Transkripsjon:

Turid Hagelsteen

Oversettelse:

Francesca Nichols

Side

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Transkripsjon
Oversettelse

Brev

Astrup, Nikolai til Høst, Isabella; Høst, Sigurd
1914-04-20
Brevs.531-67511, Nasjonalbiblioteket

21 sider

Transkripsjon: Turid Hagelsteen

Oversettelse: Francesca Nichols

Transkripsjon

Opp ned tekst øverst:

Hvilke træsnit vil de helst ha til at benytte til

gave og lign. (til Deres venner)?

          Kjære Höst og frùe!

De maa meget ùndskylde mig frù

Höst, at jeg ikke har ladet höre fra

mig, trods Deres brev og kort – jeg har

været meget syk denne vinter og vaar

ja helt siden i sommer, da bronkitten

tog mig saa slemt, – den har slaaet sig 

sammen med mine gamle lùngehisto-

rier, og jeg har ikke været helt frisk

nogen dag siden. Nu i vaar var Korsvold

en tùr hid, og den dag han reiste, fulgte

jeg ham ned paa landeveien og nogen skridt

videre, men jeg troede ikke jeg var kommen 

levende hjem igjen; thi jeg blev saa syk

som jeg neppe har været för; – og siden har 

jeg nù været elendig; – jeg mærker det

lakker mod enden med mig baade paa

den ene og den anden maade – og jeg har

saa meget ùgjort – saa meget som jeg skulde

have malt – jeg synes jeg er ikke rigtig begyndt

endnù – jeg har endnù aldrig faaet anledning

at lade mit bedre "reservemenneske" gaa i 

ilden – jeg har været upraktisk i den retning, 

som i alt andet og aldrig benyttet anledningen.

De og Deres familie er jo de eneste men-

nesker, som jeg för har kùnnet regne med

som mine virkelige venner, men jeg opfö-

rer mig saa ùmùligt mod Eder, at jeg 

kan ikke i længden vente, at I skal

kùnne forblive det fremdeles. Jeg tæn-

ker paa, hvad jeg skylder Eder baade paa

en og anden maade – Jeg blev saa skam-

fùld i vinter, da De sendte mig betaling

for elendige træsnit, som De gav Deres venner, 

og jeg bestemte mig til at trykke op en hel 

del, som De skulde have til saadant

brug (ùden betaling selvfölgelig – jeg skylder

Dem sagtens nok og faar aldrig betalt nok 

paa gjæld til Dem); men saa blev jeg syg

igjen – jeg skulde lave nogen tryk til

"udstillingen 1914", man vilde have alt, hvad

jeg havde prodùceret, skrev Nordhagen. Saa

reiste jeg en tùr til Kristiania – tænkte

at faa hjælp hos en lithograf med tryknin-

gen – det viste sig ùmùligt – reiste saa til

Kjöbenhavn – det samme der – ingen litho- 

graf trykker med tykke farver – jeg er vist- 

nok den eneste kùnstner, som bruger 

det – imidlertid fölte jeg, at jeg blev al- 

vorlig syg og maatte da reise, förend jeg 

blev liggende fast dernede, – jeg kom dog 

efter, at det havde ladt sig gjöre at lade 

en lithograf trykke mine ting med trans- 

parente farver, og saa kùnde jeg selv 

trykt dem over med tykke – men som  

sagt, jeg var syk, og det var med nöd, jeg kom 

mig hjem förend sygdommen tog mig igjen.

Nù staar jeg som en, der har havt udstil-

lingskomiteen for nar – jeg er saa nervös

af alle de breve og dynger med blanketter

og lapper (mærkelapper) jeg har faaet, at

jeg er ikke god at svare paa noget, tör 

ikke en gang se paa det – det gaar snart

rundt for mig – og alt dette midt op i

panting og daglige rykkerbreve – jeg

klarer ikke at tænke paa to ting ad gan-

gen; men saa pröver jeg at være rolig og

gaar ùd og graver i jorden og graver mine sor-

ger rigtig dybt ned i den. Kùnde jeg bare

grave mig selv ned ogsaa – og faa hvile, 

men saa er det Engel og mine to börn, 

som maa sùlte og lide nöd, – ja jeg har 

ikke fortalt Dem, at vi har en liden ½ aars 

5 maaneder gammel gùt, som heder Arnold – vi kaldte 

ham saa, fordi han var födt paa Arnold

Böklins dödsdag – (min gamle kjærlighed 

til Böklin holder sig trods artisternes gjeip) 

Jeg veed ingen maler, som trods den ydre 

forskjellighed dog i sit inderste væsen er 

mere i slegt med Mùnch end han.)

Jeg vilde gjerne forsöge at male lidt igjen

nù, men mangler penge og farver (skylder

farvehandleren) – havde jeg enda en sæk

mel og lidt medicin – tör jeg bede Dem

sende mig om ikke mere end 10 gram 

jodkalium pr. post – det gaar i et almin-

deligt brev. Jeg tör ikke bede Meyer om 

mere mel vel? Han tager ikke betaling,

og da blir det jo tiggeri. Jeg har arbeidet

op en del tryk af det med maanen, for

at De kùnde have noget at vælge i og

til Deres datter har jeg trykt op igjen det

landskab – "sommernat og stort fjeld", som

II

frk. Inger altsaa var saa elskværdig 

at laane eller rettere afstaa til salg – 

saa har jeg arbeidet et par nye tryk 

træsnit, men pladerne har jeg paa 

grùnd af stadig sygdom ikke faaet 

helt færdig, men naar sli jeg endelig 

faar dem færdige alle pladerne, skal 

jeg sende Eder hver sitt tryk.

   Nù vil jeg imidlertid bede Dem 

gjöre mig en tjeneste, – trods alt hvad 

jeg tidligere har bebyrdet Dem med: 

Vil De sende Nordhagen en kom- 

plet samling – han vil faa dem ind 

paa udstillingen trods tidens ùdlöb, 

og jeg liter ikke længere paa min 

egen hjærne og tör simpelthen ikke 

skrive til andre end Dem, man 

har endog sendt mig Kinck paa hal- 

sen, og jeg kan og tör ikke skrive og svare 

ham heller. Man trùer og smigrer om 

hinanden – snart det ene snart det andet.

Vil De gjöre det for mig, saa skal jeg

sende Dem en saadan samling, og deri

ogsaa tage med de nye træsnit trods

deres ùfærdighet, – saa vil De og Deres

datter faa anledning til at se disse

nye træsnit, – saa faar jeg höre om I liker

dem, og i saafald skal jeg som sagt

sende Eder et par bedre tryk af

disse, naar jeg nù faar pladerne fær-

dige; – det ene er, som De vil se, en

ny udgave af martzstemningen – det 

andet er et som jeg kalder "Regnbùe"

Et tredie halvfærdigt, veed jeg endnù 

ikke, om jeg skal sende til Nordhagen,

men ifald jeg sender dette og et par til,

tör jeg da bede Dem vælge ud et exem-

plar af hvert og sende Nordhagen – 

hans adr. er: "kgl. kùnst og haandt-

værkskole, Kra.".

Og saa en ting til, om De vil hjælpe

mig dermed – jeg skal sende nogle

kartoner og opklæbe ganske löst

de tryk, som jeg tror vil egne sig bedst

for udstillingen, finder De da, at andre

tryk (som jeg sender i reserve) vil passe

bedre saa kanske De er saa elskvær-

at rive de opklæbede af og ombytte dem

med doùbletten. Med hensyn til 

doùbletterne har jeg da tænkt, at De

og Deres datter tager Deres, og hvis der

da af de tiloversblevne er saa

mange, at der er nok til fuldstæn-

diggjörelse af Hr. Theisens serie af

mine træsnit, som De tidligere har

nævnt, saa kùnde han faa denne

resterende del af serien sammen

med de nye (hvis han liker dem)

for 200 kr. i betragtning af at han er

den eneste, som har faaet trykkene

til ùnderpris – jeg er nemlig i stor

pengenöd for tiden – og vilde gjerne

undgaa exeqùetion. Engel og jeg

bruger meget i medicin ogsaa om 

aaret – jeg havde en regning paa 226 

Kr. paa et halvt aar – jeg betalte 

ham apothekeren 100 kr. – det var mine sidste skil- 

linger, og saa fik han et billede og 4 

skisser for resten; – (paa en udstilling 

kunde jeg mindst havt 400 kr. for dette).

Farvehandleren forlanger ogsaa et billede,

ligeledes en handelsmand her. Man har

forlangt pant i flere af mine ufærdige 

billeder ja endog i et, som ikke er paa-

begyndt, nemlig en altertavle til Helg-

heims kirke, som herredstyret har beslut-

tet, at jeg skal udföre for 800 Kr. som jeg 

nù tvùngen af omstændighederne har paa-

taget mig – flere af herredstyrets med-

lemmer er nemlig mine creditorer i bank-

styrelsen og mener paa denne maade at

faa igjen, hvad de har været "uforsigtige"

nok til at laane mig – Herregud, – jeg

blir vist aldrig fri denne gjælden – jeg betaler

allerede over 300 kr. om aaret i renter, og over

300 i asùrancer – det sidste kan jo være

IIII

sparte penge paa en maade, – naar der 

bare ikke var den hake ved saken, 

at jeg maa betale meget mere end 

andre i præmier paa grund af mine 

daarlige lùnger; – paa en af asùrancer- 

ne, har jeg allerede betalt mere end halv- 

parten af det belöb, som skal udbetales 

ved min död.

Saa har jeg et nyt lidet hùs under byg- 

ning, som nù maa staa ufærdigt paa grùnd af 

pengemangel, – Engel og börnene er blevne 

syke i vinter af at bo i et fùgtigt og træk- 

fuldt hùs, – derfor maatte jeg bygge et 

nyt, – men nù blev det til ingen nytte 

i vinter. – Engel plages af et sting for 

brystet, som værsner efter hvert – det 

er vel pleùritten som begynder i den 

anden lùnge ogsaa.

Han gjorde os mere ondt, end han selv 

v vistnok forstod den manden, som eied

grùnden der inde paa Myklebùst, hvor

jeg byggede det lille koselige hjem

som vi maatte forlade, fordi den skurk 

negtede at sælge mig grùnden, som 

han först havde lovet mig, – han hjalp 

endog til med bygningen; – forsent opdagede 

jeg hans hensigt: at faa huset for en 

spotpris, – naar jeg ikke fik kjöbe grùn-

den, – men det skal han slippe – jeg fik 

narret ham til at skrive under paa

at hùsene skal faa staa paa tomtene 

indtil videre for en aarlig afgift af 10 Kr.

Jeg skal betale de 10 Kr. saa længe jeg

lever bare for at ærgre ham, – han

skal iallefald ikke faa sine fingre i hùset

det, för skal jeg sprænge det i luften

med dynamit. Nù staar dette varme og 

prægtige og vakre hjem ùbeboet – jeg kunde

jo ikke være der, naar jeg ikke engang havde

lov til at stige udenfor min hùsdör – han

gjærdede mig simpelthen inde. I de vaakne

nætter stùderer jeg stadig paa hevn, og jeg

skal vel finde paa noget engang i tiden.

Bankmændene, som laante mig penge paa

huset, synes nok ogsaa, at jeg har

narret dem. Papirerne paa grùnden var

i orden og manglede bare grundeierens

underskrift, som jeg skulde faa – det lovede

han paa ære og samvittighed, naar han

bare fik svar fra en sön i Amerika, om

at denne ikke misbilligede det – og det

kunde der jo ikke være tale om, sagde

grundeieren, – men for ikke at fornærme

sönnen maatte han formelt spörge ham

om tilladelse, – bare rævestreger altsam-

men, – og jeg byggede i god tro og betalte

manden afdrag paa tomterne og et

stykke mark til have, – og endelig, da jeg

med meget arbeide og stræv havde faaet

det rigtigt hyggelig, saa kommer han og

fortæller, at sönnen har overladt sagen til

ham selv, men nù har han betænkt sig

og vil ikke sælge, fordi han önsker marken 

ovenfor til en gravplads for sig og sine – 

det er utroligt, hvad disse skùrkagtige vestland-

ske bönder kan finde paa. Saa kjöbte jeg gaarden

hvor vi nù er, thi jeg vilde ikke pine

mig selv med daglig, at se hans skade-

fro glisende fjæs, naar han gik forbi 

min hùsdör og reparede gjærdet, som jeg

naturligvis stadig rev ned igjen. Jeg anvender

al min energi paa at önske ondt over ham,

det har lykkes mig med mine andre fiender,

men han maa være utrolig seig; thi han

er endnù like frisk trods 3 aars onde ön-

sker.

Skibsreder Konsul? Thesen skrev til mig i vinter

og spurgte, hvad jeg forlangte for en tryk

af "sommernat og stort fjeld" jeg har ikke

svaret ham, men tænkte at bede Dem

ordne det for mig som nævnt, slig at han

faar alle de tryk, han mangler af mine

ting (saa det blir en hel serie) for 200 kr.

hvis han önsker de nye maatte han kanske

faa se disse, för de blev sendt til Nordhagen,

hvis han synes det er formeget, skal jeg

lade ham faa dem indrammede hos Didr.

Andersen, hvor jeg har staaende 30 kr., som

han kan benytte til indramning. Kan De 

hùske hvilke tryk, han ikke har – saa-

IIII

vidt jeg erindrer var det fölgende:

1) acten 2) Sommernat og stort fjeld – 3) Et

Jölstersagn 4) Kornstaùr i maaneskin (eller

kanske han har det?) 5) Hjemover fra arbeidet til Soria

Moria (kanske han har det ogsaa?) 6) Jölsterkone

7) gammel jölsterjente 8) Nat ved Fossen

og saa er det de nye delvis ùfærdige: 

9) Selvportrait No 2 (hvis han vil ha Nr. I, saa {...}

kan han faa det ogsaa) 10) Martzstemning

11) gammel mandsakt. 12) Studie – – 

Saa har han, hvad jeg har prodùceret med

undtagelse af de nyeste tre: "Regnbùe", som 

jeg kùn vil tage 3 tryk af nemlig en til

Nordhagen – en til Dem og en til Deres datter (hvis De da vil ha det – trykker ikke ellers),

og saa skal pladerne opbrændes, – hvis jeg

da ikke skulde lade Rasmùs Meyer faa et

for urimelig höi pris, – men jeg tænker han

betakker sig. Saa er det "Kollen" som

jeg er i tvivl om, jeg skal lade gaa af stabelen 

(med indramning faar han Thesen det ikke).

Jeg tænker op og ned paa, hvorledes jeg skal

skaffe mynt – önsker bare jeg havde igjen

de 30 kr,. som jeg lod Didr. Andersen

faa for at sikre mig rammer til træ-

snit i nödens stùnd. Nù er denne stund 

kommet, og jeg trængte igrunden bedre

de 30, kr. end rammerne – tùrde jeg bede

Dem disponere disse 30 kr – eller rettere

rammerne for mig – haaber Didr. Ander-

sen ikke gjör vrövl, – og vil at jeg skal

holde mig til de rammer, som jeg tilfæl-

digvis saa paa, – disse er nemlig alt for dyre.

De med Deres gode smag finder nok nogle

som er billigere og like vakre, men jeg gjör

Dem bryderi ved at uleilige Dem ned til       

denne Didr. Andersen (som bor i Markeveien hjørnet av Fortunen).

De er saa elskværdig at tilbyde mig at 

sælge billeder for mig igjen; – først og 

fremst bùrde jeg da tænke paa at sende

noget til Dem selv og Deres datter, som

lidt afdrag paa min gjæld til Eder. Men 

det er saa lidet, jeg har, og I bùrde jo

have noget at vælge iblandt, og saa er 

det jo Rasmùs Meyer, som skal se paa

alt först. Har De seet mine sidste

ting hos Meyer, saa maa De give mig

lidt kritik. De var bedre fra först af, –

jeg ödelagde dem ùnder udarbeidelsen, –

jeg er ùsikker paa mit nye felt, som

De nok vil se – mit gamle felt, er jeg lei

af, især siden jeg ser at Thunold og

Tranaas har taget det i besiddelse, saa

helt: Thunold dog mest Skredene ned over sneflekkerne – Tranaas

har nærmest kùn i et billede som er

en gjenganger af "Kollen". Nù ja, Wig-

del har jo ogsaa fùndet nogle levninger. 

Jeg kan kùn sige: at hvor aadselet

er, der samles ravnene.

Nei dette blev kùn om mig selv og mit

sörgelige liv og endeligt. I har jo været

i Paris og Italien – tak for kortet, jeg 

tænkte saa smaat paa at reist videre

fra Hamburg og truffet Eder i Paris, men

troede I vilde fùndet mig paatrængende – 

Noget kort fra Italien, har jeg ikke faaet.

Ja jeg maa gratulere Eder med alt, hvad

I har seet og oplevet – det maatte være

storartet – haaber jeg faar höre lidt der-

fra, naar jeg træffer Eder, – hvis det da blir 

mere i denne verden.

Nei jeg faar tage mig sammen nù og

lade reservemennesket gaa i ilden, hvis det

da ikke er römt fra mig. – Sygdommen

faar rase saa meget den vil, – jeg faar

lade det staa til og stampe mod brodden,

bare jeg havde saa meget mynt, at jeg

kunde være fri de værste næringssorger et

halvt aars tid, – tror De Meyer laante

mig lidt? Jeg betalte ham jo igjen

en del nù i höst, da han fik de to sidste    

billeder Skylder ham nù kùn 250 Kr.. Eller om ikke andet – vilde

han kaùtionere for mig hos Alf Bjerke,

saa jeg fik farver tror De? Jeg eier ikke

engang papir til at trykke mine træsnit

paa – træsnitterne trækker ogsaa utroligt

paa farverne. Ja ùndskyld mig dette gnag 

jeg plager Dem jo frygtelig. Haaber De lever

vel. Engel beder mig hilse. Har De kjöbt den

eiendommen paa Hop? Min bedste hilsen – Deres Astrup

          Kjære Frù Höst!

Mit brev blev nok forliggende – 

det er vist usammenhængende og

uforstaaeligt – sövnlöse nætter gjör

nok baade skrift og indhold uforstaa

eligt – jeg bör forklare enkelte ting

tydeligere – særlig angaaende Nordha-

gen. – De synes vel det er underligt,

at jeg ikke skriver til ham selv, men

plager Dem dermed; – vilde De være 

saa venlig at forklare ham, hvad jeg 

har sagt Dem: at jeg er syg og ikke

magter at skrive et ordentligt brev?

Det er en skap snild og elskværdig mand,

som jeg ikke vilde stöde. Han skriver

saa elskværdig om mine træsnit, og han

er jo en gammel kræsen fagmand, og jeg

kun en famlende begynder, der aldrig har 

lært noget teknisk. Han skriver: "Det

glæder mig meget, at vi kan gjöre Reg-

ning paa en saa fyldig deltagelse fra

Deres Side! Deres overmaade interessante

og egenartede Farvetræsnit vil bli en

"betydelig, Tilvækst til vor Afdeling. Derfor

tar vi med Tak imod saamange

Arbeider som muligt fra Dem. De

kan gjerne gaa udover det af Dem

anmeldte Antal 20. Vi skal nok

skaffe Plads, og det med Glæde. – 

Deres Kunst er jeg overordentlig glad i. 

Den er velgjörende fri, for Receptlaveri,

den er intens, bygget paa et indtræn-

gende Natùrstùdiùm og helt igjennem

norsk."

Jeg er rent stolt af en saadan atest

fra et saa teknisk sagkyndigt hold.

Men det nytter lidet, (naar man 

ikke naaer det, man selv vil med

sine ting) om andre er fornöiet med

dem.

Angaaende Konsul Thesen – saa kanske

jeg tager feil i, at han vilde ha en

hel serie – det var kanske bare "akten" 

og "juninat og stort fjeld", han vilde ha?

De nævnte noget om en, som vilde

ha en hel serie, – og jeg har da troet,

at det var denne Thesen; – af juni

"juninat og stort fjeld" sender jeg 3, et

til ham og et til frk. Inger og et til

Nordhagen; – mangler De nogen 

tryk selv, maa De skrive derom.

De nævnte, at jeg maatte tage 100 Kr.

for "juninat og stort fjeld" af Thesen

og 80 kr. for akten; det bilr blir vel

for meget "juninat og stort fjeld" koster

mig jo det 10-dobbelte arbeide af "akten"

saa det blir for liden forskjel i prisen.

til udstillingen har jeg opgivet priser,

som staar nogenlùnde i forhold til

arbeidet – disse priser, skal jeg sende

Dem en fortegnelse over – ikke for at

De skal rette Dem derefter, men fordi

jeg tænkte, De kunde have interesse

af at se, hvilke der var lette og hvilke

der var vanskelige at trykke. Enkelte

af sort og hvidt-trykkene er rent ùmulige

endog værre end farvetrykkene, som dog

gjennemgaaende er (lettest er Soria Moria) de vanskeligste, saaledes

det De kalder "Nisselùemanden". Akten

hörer ogsaa til de vanskeligere af sort

og hvidt. Nei nù plager jeg Dem igjen. 

Engel er meget syk idag – lillegùtten

vokser for sterkt er jeg ræd, og lever

i alt for ùsùnd lùft i dette fugtige

og trækfùlde hùs, – og saa trærer han

for sterkt paa Engel – han har ikke

nogen god farve – gulsot kanske? eller engelsk syke

Hvad vil De raade mig til at give ham

som begynder-mad – han har endnù

intet faaet mad – havresùppe vil han ikke

smage – og andet kan jeg vanskelig skaffe.

Han blev sterkt forkjölet det förste nat

efter han kom til verden – laa for tyndt

klæd i en utæt vùgge midt over et stort hul 

i gùlvet – baade Engel og jeg sov – vi hadde vaaget vært

meget, og der var kùn fremmede som stelte med

ham. Ja ùndskyld mit rabl. Deres hengivne

Astrùp

Konvolutt, framside:

Til 

   Frù Overlærer Höst

     Adr. Overlærer Sigurd Höst

Hop Station

Pr. Bergen

Oversettelse

Upside down text at top: 

Which woodcuts would you prefer to have to make use of

and so forth (for Your friends)?

          Dear Höst and Mrs.!

You must really forgive me Mrs. 

Höst, because You have not heard from

me, despite Your letter and card – I have

been seriously ill this winter and spring

in fact ever since this summer, when the bronchitis

struck me so severely, – it has 

combined with my old pulmonary

complaints, and I have not been entirely well 

for one day since. This spring Korsvold

came to visit, and the day he left, I accompanied

him down to the country road and a few steps

beyond, but thought I would not arrive 

home again alive; because I became so sick 

as I have hardly been before; – and since then I 

have been miserable; – I can feel that 

the end is not far off for me in more

than one sense – and I have

so much unfinished business – so much that I would 

have liked to paint – I feel as though I haven’t really begun

yet – I have never as yet had the opportunity

to allow my better "double" to test his 

mettle – I have been impractical in that respect, 

as in everything else and never taken advantage of the opportunity.

You and Your family are the only peo-

ple, whom I hitherto could count on

as my true friends, but I be-

have so impossibly towards You, that I 

cannot expect, that You shall

remain so in the long run. I think

about what I owe You in both

one sense and another – I was so a-

shamed this winter, when You sent me payment

for dreadful woodcuts, which You gave to Your friends, 

and I decided to print a whole

bunch, which You should have for such a

purpose (without payment of course – I owe

You quite a lot and never manage to pay off 

enough of my debt to You); but then I became ill

again – I was going to make a few prints for

"the 1914 exhibition", they wanted everything, that

I had produced, Nordhagen wrote. Then

I made a trip to Kristiania [Oslo] – thought

of obtaining help from a lithographer with the print-

ing – it proved to be impossible – travelled then to

Copenhagen – the same there – no litho- 

grapher prints with thick paints – I am evi- 

dently the only artist, who uses 

them – in the meantime I felt, that I had become seri- 

ously ill and had to leave, before I 

became bedridden down there, – I have since 

realised, that it might have been possible to have 

a lithographer print my things with trans- 

parent paints, and then I could 

print them again with thick paints – but as 

I said, I was ill, and it was by the skin of my teeth, that I made 

it home before the illness caught up with me.

Now I give the impression that I am someone, who has tried

to deceive the exhibition committee – I am so nervous

because of all the letters and piles of forms

and notes (labels) I have received, that

I am unable to respond to anything, do 

not even dare to look at it – I soon won’t know whether

I am coming or going – and all this in the midst of

claims and daily collection letters – I

don’t have the wherewithal to think of two things at the same

time; but then I attempt to calm myself down by

going out to dig in the earth and bury my sor-

rows deep in the ground. If only I might

bury myself down there as well – and get some rest, 

but then there is Engel and my two children, 

who must go hungry and suffer, – I guess I have 

not told You, that we have a little ½ year

5-month-old boy, who is called Arnold – we named 

him that, because he was born on the day Arnold

Böklin died – (my old love 

for Böklin persists despite the scorn of artists) 

I know no artist, who despite the external 

differences is nevertheless in his innermost being 

more similar to Munch than he.)

I wanted to attempt to paint a little again

now, but lack of money for paints (I owe

the paint supplier) – if only I had a sack of

flour left and a little medicine – dare I ask You to

send me no more than 10 grams of 

potassium iodine per post – it fits into a re-

gular letter. I dare not ask Meyer for 

more flour should I? He does not accept payment,

and then it is considered begging. I have accumulated

a number prints of the one with the moon, so

that You might have something to choose from and

for Your daughter I have printed up again the

landscape – "summer night and large mountain", which

II

Miss Inger was so kind as 

to lend or more precisely renounce for sale – 

and then I have worked on a couple of new prints 

woodcuts, but due to constant illness 

I have not been able to complete

the blocks, but when suc I ultimately 

complete all the blocks, I 

shall send a print to each of You.

   In the meantime I would ask You 

to do me a favour, – despite everything that 

I have previously burdened You with: 

Will You send Nordhagen a com- 

plete collection – he will include them

in the exhibition despite the expiration date, 

and I no longer trust my

own brain and simply dare not 

write to anyone else than You, they 

have even set Kinck upon 

me, and I cannot and dare not write or respond 

to him either. They threaten and flatter in 

turn – first one then the other.

If You do that for me, then I will

send You such a collection, and include

therein also the new woodcuts despite

their incompleteness, – You and Your

daughter will thus have the opportunity to see these

new woodcuts, – then I will hear whether You like

them, and in that case I will as mentioned

send You a couple of better prints of

these, when I manage to com-

plete the blocks; – one of them is, as You will see, a

new version of March atmosphere – the 

other is one that I call "Rainbow"

A third half-finished one, I am not sure 

yet, whether I will send to Nordhagen,

but in case I send this and a few more,

dare I ask You to choose a copy

of each and send them to Nordhagen – 

his adr. is: "royal college of art 

and design, Kristiania [Oslo]".

And then one more thing, which You might help

me with – I will send a few

cardboards and rather loosely paste

the prints, which I think will be best suited

for the exhibition [on them], if You find, that other

prints (which I send in reserve) might be more

suitable then perhaps You will be so kind as

to tear the pasted ones off and replace them

with the duplicates. Regarding the 

duplicates I have thought, that You

and Your daughter should take Your share, and if there

are among those left over 

enough to com-

plete Mr. Theisen’s series of

my woodcuts, which You have previously

mentioned, then he might have this

remaining part of the series together

with the new ones (if he likes them)

for 200 kroner considering he is

the only one, who has obtained the prints

below cost – I am in great need

of money lately – and would gladly 

avoid execution. Engel and I

spend a lot on medicine as well

annually – I had a bill in the amount of 226 

Kroner in half a year – I paid 

him the pharmacist 100 kroner – it was my last shil- 

ling, and then he received a picture and 4 

sketches for the rest; – (at an exhibition 

I might have gotten at least 400 kroner for this).

The paint supplier demands a picture as well,

likewise a merchant here. People have

demanded security in several of my unfinished 

pictures and even in one, which is not be-

gun yet, an altarpiece for Helg-

heim Church, that the parish council has de-

cided, that I shall execute for 800 Kroner which I 

forced by circumstances have taken

on – several of the parish council’s mem-

bers are in fact my creditors on the board

of the bank and believe that in this way they will

get back, what they were "careless"

enough to lend me – My God, – I

will probably never be free of this debt – I already

pay over 300 kroner per year in interest, and more 

than 300 in insurance – the latter might of course be

IIII

saved money in a sense, – had it

not been for the drawback, 

that I must pay far more than 

others in premiums because of my 

poor lungs; – on one of my insurance poli- 

cies, I have already paid more than half 

the amount, that shall be paid out 

upon my death.

And then I have a new little cabin under con- 

struction, which must now remain unfinished due to 

lack of money, – Engel and the children have fallen

ill this winter from living in a damp and draughty 

house, – that is why I had to build a 

new one, – but it was of no use 

this winter. – Engel is suffering from a pain in 

the chest, which gradually worsens – it 

is most likely the pleurisy that has spread to the 

other lung as well.

He did us more harm, than he 

evidently knew that man, who owned

the land over there at Myklebùst, where

I built that cosy little home

which we had to abandon, because that scoundrel

refused to sell me the plot, which 

he had first promised me, – he even 

helped with the construction work; – too late I discovered 

his intention: to get the house for a  

pittance, – when I was not allowed to purchase the

plot, – but he will not get his way – I managed to 

trick him into signing a document that allows 

the buildings to remain standing on the plots 

indefinitely for an annual fee of 10 Kroner.

I will pay the 10 Kroner as long as I

live just to aggravate him, – he

shall in any case not get his hands on the house

it, before that I will blow it up

with dynamite. Now this warm and 

lovely and beautiful home remains uninhabited – I could

not remain there, when I was not allowed to even

step outside my front door – he 

simply fenced me in. During wakeful 

nights I am forever pondering ways of taking revenge, and I

shall figure out something one day.

The bank functionaries, who lent me money for 

the house, surely also think, that I have

fooled them. The documents regarding the plot were

in order and were only missing the landowner’s

signature, which I would get – this he promised

with his hand on his heart, as soon as

he received word from a son in America, confirming

that he did not disapprove of it – and

there could be no doubt of this, said

the landowner, – but in order not to offend

the son he was obliged to formally ask him

for permission, – nothing but shenanigans every

bit of it, – and I continued to build in good faith and paid

the man down payments on the plots and

part of a field for a garden, – and finally, when I

after great effort and toil had made 

it really attractive, then he comes to 

tell me, that his son has left the matter to

him, but that he now had reservations 

and did not wish to sell, because he wanted the field 

above for a cemetery for himself and his family – 

it is unbelievable, what these villainous West

Coast farmers can concoct. I then bought the farm

where we now are, because I did not wish to torture

myself by daily watching his mali-

cious grinning face, as he walked by 

my front door and repaired the fence, which I

of course kept tearing down again. I spend

all my energy on wishing evil upon him, 

I have succeeded in this with other foes of mine,

but he must be unbelievably tough; for he

continues to be healthy despite 3 years of invoking

evil.

Shipowner Consul? Thesen wrote to me this winter

and asked, what I demanded for a print

of "summer night and large mountain" I have not

answered him, but thought to ask You

to arrange it for me as mentioned, so that he

receives all the prints, which he lacks from among my

things (so that it forms a whole series) for 200 kroner

if he desires the new ones he might have to

see them, before they were sent to Nordhagen,

if he feels it is too much, I will 

let him have them framed by Didr.

Andersen, where I have 30 kroner in credit, which

he can make use of for framing. Can You 

remember which prints, he does not have – as far

IIII

as I remember it was the following:

1) the nude 2) Summer night and large mountain – 3) A

Tale from Jølster 4) Grain poles in moonlight (or

perhaps he has it?) 5) Home from work to Soria

Moria (perhaps he had that also?) 6) old Jølster woman

7) old Jølster maid 8) The Waterfall by Night

and then there are the new partly unfinished: 

9) Self-portrait No 2 (if he would like to have Nr. I, then {…}

he can have that as well) 10) March atmosphere

11) old male nude. 12) Study – – 

Then he will have everything I have produced with

the exception of the latest three: "Rainbow", which 

I will only make 3 prints of one for          

Nordhagen – one for You and one for Your daughter (if You wish to have it that is – will not print otherwise)

and then the blocks will be burned, – in the 

event I don’t allow Rasmùs Meyer to have one

for an unreasonably high price, – but I imagine he will

decline. Then there is "Barren Mountain" which

I am in doubt whether, I am ready to send off 

(he Thesen will not receive it framed).

I am turning every stone, in search of a way of

getting hold of money – just wish I still had

the 30 kroner, that I gave Didr. Andersen

in order to guarantee that I had frames for the wood-

cuts in times of need. Now that time has 

come, and I actually need the 

the 30 kroner more than the frames – dare I ask

You to take care of these 30 kroner – or rather

the frames for me – hope Didr. Ander-

sen does not cause trouble, – and expect me to

keep to the frames, that I ran-

domly looked at, – for those are way too expensive.

You with Your good taste will find some

that are less expensive and just as beautiful, but I am causing

You a nuisance by bothering You to go down to         

this Didr. Andersen (who lives in Markeveien the corner of Fortunen).

You are so kind as to offer to 

sell pictures for me again; – first and 

foremost I should think of sending

something for Yourself and Your daughter, as

a little down payment on my debt to You. But 

it is so little, what I have, and You should 

have something to choose among, and then it 

is Rasmùs Meyer, who shall look at

everything first. If You have seen my latest

things at Meyer’s, then You must give me

a little critique. They were better to begin with, –

I ruined them doing the embellishment, –

I am uncertain about my new field, as

You will see – my old field, I am tired

of, especially since I can see that Thunold and

Tranaas have taken possession of it, so

completely: Thunold most of all The landslides cascading over the snow patches – Tranaas

has perhaps only in one picture which is

a replica of "Barren Mountain". Oh and Wig-

del has also found a few remains. 

I can only say: where the carrion

is, that is where the ravens gather.

Well this has ended up being all about me and my

sad life and demise. You have been

in Paris and Italy – thank you for the postcard, I 

thought briefly of extending my journey

from Hamburg and meeting You in Paris, but

thought You might find me intrusive – 

I have not received any postcard from Italy.

Well I must congratulate You on everything, that

You have seen and experienced – it must have been

delightful – hope I will get to hear a little about

it, when I see You, – that is if it will 

occur again in this world.

Well I must pull myself together now and

let my double test his mettle, if he

hasn’t escaped from me that is. – Let the illness

rage as much as it will, – I will just

let things take their course and kick against the goads

if only I had enough cash, so that I

might be free of the worst business worries for

half a year, – do You think Meyer might lend

me a little? I repaid him 

a good sum this past autumn, when he got the two last

pictures Owe him now only 250 Kroner. Or if nothing else – would

he provide security for me at Alf Bjerke’s,

so that I might obtain paints do You think? I don’t even 

have paper to print my woodcuts 

on – the woodcuts also absorb the paints

unbelievably. Well forgive me for this nagging 

I am annoying You terribly. Hope You are living

well. Engel asks me to send her greetings. Have You purchased the

property in Hop? My best wishes – Your Astrup

          Dear Mrs. Höst!

My letter was left lying around – 

it appears to be incoherent and

incomprehensible – sleepless nights cause

both the writing and the content to be incompre

hensible – I should explain certain things

more clearly – especially regarding Nordha-

gen. – You must think it strange,

that I do not write to him myself, but

bother You with it; – would You be 

so kind as to explain to him, what I 

have told You: that I am sick and lack

the strength to write a proper letter?

He is a crea kind and gracious man,

whom I do not wish to offend. He writes

so charmingly about my woodcuts, and he

is an experienced discriminating specialist, and I

merely a fumbling beginner, who has never 

learned any technical skills. He writes: "It

pleases me greatly, that we can count

on such copious participation on

Your part! Your exceedingly interesting

and distinctive Colour woodcuts will be a

significant Addition to our Department. We

therefore gratefully accept as many

Works as possible from You. You

can even exceed the quantity of 20 as

announced by You. We shall certainly

find the Space, and with Pleasure. – 

I am exceedingly fond of Your Art. 

It is refreshingly free of Formulaic repetition,

it is intense, built on a penetra-

ting study of Nature and thoroughly

Norwegian."

I am very proud of such a recommendation

coming from such expert quarters.

But it matters little, (when one 

does not achieve, what one strives for with

one’s own work) that others are satisfied with

them. 

Regarding Consul Thesen – perhaps

I am mistaken in believing, that he wished for a

whole series – perhaps it was only "the nude" 

and "a night in June and large mountain", he wanted?

You mentioned something about someone, who wished

to have a whole series, – and I was under the impression,

that it was this Thesen; – of june

"a night in June and large mountain" I am sending 3, one

for him and one for Miss Inger and one for

Nordhagen; – If You are missing any 

prints Yourself, You must write so.

You mentioned, that I should take 100 Kroner

for "a night in June and large mountain" from Thesen

and 80 kroner for the nude; that wuold would be 

too much "a night in June and large mountain" costs

me 10 times the amount of work as "the nude"

so that is an insufficient difference in price. 

for the exhibition I have specified prices,

that are more or less comparable to

the works – these prices, I shall send

You a list of – not so that

You shall comply with them, but because

I thought, You might be interested

in seeing, which of them were easy and which

were difficult to print. Some

of the black and white prints are quite impossible

even worse than the colour prints, which nevertheless 

are normally (the easiest is Soria Moria) the most difficult, like

the one You call "the man with the gnome’s cap". The nude

also belongs among the more difficult black

and white ones. Well now I am bothering You again. 

Engel is very ill today – our little boy

is growing awfully quickly I fear, and is living

in unhealthy air in this damp

and draughty cabin, – and then he wears 

Engel to the bone – his colouring

is not good at all – jaundice perhaps? or rickets

What would You advise me to give him

as the first foodstuff – he has not 

yet had food – oat gruel he refuses

to taste – and anything else is difficult for me to get hold of.

He caught a cold the first night 

after he came into the world – lay too thinly

clothed in an exposed crib directly above a large hole 

in the floor – both Engel and I slept – we had been awake been

for a long while, and it was only strangers who were tending to

him. Well forgive my babbling. Your devoted

Astrùp

Envelope, front:

To

   Mrs. Headmaster Höst

     Adr. Headmaster Sigurd Höst

Hop Station

Via Bergen