Barren Mountain

undefined undefined undefined, 1905 - 1906, 1203 x 1002 mm

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

A looming mountain dominates the picture plane here, and stands in stark contrast to the slender leafless rowan tree in the foreground. The atmosphere is oppressive and cold. The composition is symmetrical, more like a portrait than a typical landscape. There is something human and yet almost supernatural about the mountain. The crevice that divides the mountain formation in two resembles a giant wound, and we can glimpse whimsical phantoms and skulls formed in the crags and precipices. The mountain in question is Kleivefjellet, which has this characteristic “wound” in reality, although Astrup has exaggerated the shape in this painting.  

In the painting Barren Mountain Astrup has focused on the mountain Kleivefjellet, which is situated by Kjøsnesfjorden in Jølster. The monumental mountain formation fills the format and is symmetrically placed, and which is accentuated by the transverse position of the fjord with the shoreline in the picture’s middle ground and the rowan tree in the foreground. . Øystein Loge characterises this this work as a frontal composition. This is a formula that we see in other paintings as well, such as The Parsonage Garden (K44), Spring Atmosphere (K181) and Grey Spring Evening (K77). Loge compares the use of the frontal perspective, as an artistic device, to the icon, which symbolically establishes a connection between human beings and a spiritual deity. The frontal perspective is also a pictorial device that amplifies a direct and intense impression of nature. About the period around 1905 Astrup writes, “It was a period of raw atmospheres for me. I fought for my life and swore allegiance to the devil.”

Barren Mountain was painted from the vantage point of a window in the childhood home of Astrup’s wife, Engel Astrup. She grew up on the Sunde farm in Jølster, and according to Astrup, he painted this motif from her room about the time they met in autumn 1905. In the painting Spring and Ice Thaw under Barren Mountain (K141) Astrup makes a variation of the motif of Kleivefjellet. An important distinction between these two versions is that Spring and Ice Thaw under Barren Mountain has a spring atmosphere, while this version is has an autumn atmosphere. There is supposed to be a third motif painted from this window, but its whereabouts is unknown.

Barren Mountain, which Astrup originally called “Raw November Morning”, was for sale at his solo exhibition in 1908 for 280 kroner. This was one of the most expensive paintings, and was not sold. In 1909 the painting was mentioned in his correspondence with Sigurd and Isabella Høst, who offered to sell the painting for Astrup. In response to the offer Astrup wrote: “I asked Engel today, if I might have permission to sell the picture from her loft window – for 200 Kr. No – I added one hundred kroner – No — I continued until I arrived at 700 – then she was nearly in tears – ‘yes if we must and had permission to see it again in the home, of those who bought it’”. Barren Mountain was sold to the art collector Rasmus Meyer, and has since 1916 been part of the museum’s Rasmus Meyer Collection. 

1905-1909:

Nikolai Astrup

(1880-1928)

1909-1916:

Rasmus Meyer

(1858-1916)

1916-1916:

Finn Meyer

(1892-1965)

1916-1916:

Gerda Nyquist

(1889-1965)

1916-1950:

Bergen kommune

Exhibition_history

Separate_exhibition

1908-5-3 - 1908-5-27

Nikolai Astrups Maleriutstilling

Bergen

2

See_exhibition

1911-1-22 - 1911-2-12

Nikolai Astrup

Kristiania (Oslo)

[14]

See_exhibition

1928-10-10 - 1928-11-4

Nikolai Astrup. Mindeutstilling

Bergen

6

See_exhibition

1928-11-11 - 1928-12-9

Nikolai Astrup. Mindeutstilling

Kristiania (Oslo)

6

See_exhibition

1955-1-10 - 1955-12-31

Nikolai Astrup. Malerier og tresnitt

Oslo

32

See_exhibition

1956-11-2 - 1956

Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928

Stockholm

19

See_exhibition

1965-12-1 - 1965-12-19

Nikolai Astrup

København

19

See_exhibition

1971-1-13 - 1971-2-2

Nikolai Astrup

Oslo

15

See_exhibition

1980-3-14 - 1980-4-7

Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Maleri, tegning, grafikk

Bergen

24

See_exhibition

1980-4-12 - 1980-5-4

Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Maleri, tegning, grafikk

Oslo

24

See_exhibition

1980-6-4 - 1980-6-29

Nikolai Astrup 1880–1928. Maleri, tegning, grafikk

Trondheim

24

See_exhibition

2016-5-1 - 2016-5-5

Nikolai Astrup Painting Norway

London

12

See_exhibition

2016-6-10 - 2016-9-11

Nikolai Astrup Norske Landskap

Oslo

12

See_exhibition

2016-10-2 - 2017-1-22

Nikolai Astrup: Norwegen. Eine Entdeckung

Emden

12

See_exhibition

2021-6-19 - 2021-9-19

Nikolai Astrup: Visions of Norway

See_exhibition

2021-10-15 - 2022-1-23

Nikolai Astrup. Rå natur

See_exhibition

2022-2-19 - 2022-5-28

Nikolai Astrup. Visioner av norsk natur

See_exhibition

Group_exhibition

1912-1-13 - 1912-2-1

Norwegische Künstler

Wien

3

See_exhibition

1914-5-15 - 1914-8

Jubilæumsutstillingen [1]

Kristiania (Oslo)

7

See_exhibition

1914-8-29 - 1914

Jubilæumsutstillingen [2]

Kristiania (Oslo)

7

See_exhibition

1915-11-10 - 1915-12

Den norske kunstudstilling

København:

3

See_exhibition

1949-12-16 - 1950-2-3

Honderd Jaar Noorse Schilderkunst

Haag

[no]

See_exhibition

1976-9-22 - 1976-5-25

Norwegian Romantic Landscape 1820–1920

London

6

See_exhibition

1976-11-12 - 1976-12-3

Norwegian Romantic Landscape 1820–1920

NewcastleuponTyne

6

See_exhibition

1976-12-16 - 1977-1-15

Norwegian Romantic Landscape 1820–1920

Liverpool

6

See_exhibition

1977-2-12 - 1977-4-9

Norwegische Landschaftsmalerei. Von Dahl bis Munch

Bremen

[no]

See_exhibition

1991 - 1991

Deformasjon

Bergen

51

See_exhibition

Bergens kommunale kunstsamlinger, Rasmus Meyers Samlinger. Katalog. Bergens kommunale kunstsamlinger. Bergen, 1978 [1955], 10.

Bergens kunstforening, Katalog over Nikolai Astrups Maleriutstilling. Bjarne Klausens Bogtrykkeri. Bergen, 1908, upag.

Künstlerbund Hagen, Norwegische Künstler. [s.n.]. Wien, 1912.

Loge, Øystein, Betrothed to Nature. Det Norske Samlaget. Oslo, 2010, 101, 100 187, 199, 202, 230, 236.