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Painting Norway FEBRUARY 2016

'The Norwegian artist you’ve never heard of but will never forget.'

"He should be as famous as Edvard Munch, but the world seems to have forgotten him – until now" - Jonathan Jones, The Guardian

"The Norwegian artist you’ve never heard of but will never forget" - Maev Kennedy, The Guardian

‘When you see Astrup’s enchanting pictures of fjords, mountains, meadows of marsh marigolds and midsummer-night bonfires you’ll immediately fall for their subtle blend of mysticism, sex, longing and anguish.’ – Time Out, London
Jølster in Norway was Nikolai Astrup’s home and the centrepiece of his art. In Astrup’s work, Jølster breathes: it is a character, with moods and tempers, seasons of beauty and flashes of anger. Through painting and printmaking, the artist conveys a series of unique impressions of the area, capturing its beating heart, the spirit of its people, the richness and depth of the local mythology.
Astrup saw the landscape in a way that many people did not: as a living creature, shifting and changing, living and dying with the seasons.  Branches scraping at the belly of the sky were not just wood, but the arms of a troll reaching up towards the sun. A mountain, lying resplendent under the high summer sun, was not just a jumble of stone but an Ice Queen watching over humans who scurried like ants in her shadow. 
Astrup is beloved in his native Norway, meriting comparisons with his great contemporary Edvard Munch, but to date he has been little known in the wider world. To change this, Astrup’s artwork is going on tour. The beauty of Jølster – its magic and its wonder – will arrive at The Dulwich Picture Gallery from 5th Febuary to 15th May. From there it will travel on to Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Høvikodden, Norway, and Kunsthalle Emden, Germany.  
Scala’s book, published to accompany the exhibition, includes a series of essays to illuminate Astrup’s remarkable life and art. Open it up, and let the spirits of Jølster reach out and tug you into another world.