Study for ‘Midsummer Eve Bonfire’

Olje på lerret, 1903 - 1906

Ukjent eier

There are no known descriptions or photographs of this painting, but Astrup’s title indicates that this belongs to the series of pictures of midsummer fires.

In Astrup’s list from 1927, the painting is listed as a study for Henrik Lund’s (1879–1935) painting Midsummer Eve Bonfire (K55), which the artist describes as the “original picture”. The original version was first exhibited in 1908. There is also a second study, “The Midsummer Fire Stone” (U042), which was owned by the artist himself and inherited by his widow, Engel Astrup (1892–1966), in 1928.

The uknown painting may be the same work that Astrup refers to as “Study for ‘Midsummer Night’“ in a letter to Sigurd and Isabella Høst dated 20/09/1909. Here the work is included on a list of potential pictures for an exhibition, but Astrup does not state the owner beyond saying that the painting is “in Kristiania” (Oslo).

Another possible match is “Sketch for Midsummer Eve Bonfire” (U078). In 1952, this study was owned by Kitty Kamstrup (1862–1953). Astrup knew Kamstrup from the foundation of Kunstnerforbundet (artists’ association) in 1910, where she played a key administrative role. It is reasonable to believe that Astrup would have entered Kamstrup on his list if he knew that she owned “Study for ‘Midsummer Eve Bonfire’“ in 1927. The provenance of Kamstrup’s study, meanwhile, is unknown before and after it was exhibited in 1952, and there are no descriptions or photographs of this version that match the composition of Midsummer Eve Bonfire (K55) and “The Midsummer Fire Stone” (U042).

The history of the study referred to here is therefore unknown before and after it is listed by Astrup in 1927. 

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Nikolai Astrup