Bissen, Rudolf (1846-1911)

Bissen, Rudolf (1846-1911)
Bissen, Rudolf (1846-1911)

Rudolf Bissen was an award-winning Danish painter of naturalistic landscapes.

Born in Copenhagen, Bissen honed his early skills under the guidance of Denmark’s leading landscape painter, Peter Christian Skovgaard (1817-1875). The young artist was immersed in Skovgaard’s grand vistas, which celebrated the Danish panorama.

From here, he began studying at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts where he progressed his draughtsmanship, learning from the masters. It’s possible that he encountered the renowned JL Lund (1777-1867) during this time, who encouraged students to study the models of Dutch landscape painting from the 17th century.

Bissen developed rapidly, debuting at the prestigious Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition in 1868, before heading for the sun-drenched hills of Italy for further inspiration. During this early period, many of his works depict broad Italian views under blistering skies and undulant scenery culminating in a misty glow.

Upon his return, inspired by Italian grandeur, he enlivened the Danish landscape, emphasising its profound beauty.

Rudolf Bissen

Rudolf Bissen, Tordenbyge (1889)

This work from 1889 depicts a thunderstorm. The sky punctuated by a dramatic wedge of moving clouds, partially broken to reveal a strip of light before distant hills. A horse and cart cut through the ominous scenery.

Aside from his academic teaching, Bissen also developed his style alongside good friend Thorvald Niss (1842-1905), one of the ‘Skagen Painters’. This group of like-minded young pioneers embraced a looser touch to capture idyllic views along the shifting coastal dunes at Skagen - they were essentially the Danish impressionists. So on one hand, Bissen had a firm academic understanding, while on the other, he was excited to paint outside with rapid brushwork.

His array of influences culminated in consistent success and he was awarded the Eckersberg Medal in 1892. While also receiving an honourable mention at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.

Rudolf Bissen combined the grandiose spirit of the Danish Golden Age with the emerging ideas of modernity. His works serve as fascinating examples of Denmark’s evolving artistic philosophies.

He's represented at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.


Born in Copenhagen, Denmark to Herman Wilhelm Bissen and Emilie Hedevig Bissen (nee Møller).

C. 1863

Trained under landscape painter PC Skovgaard.


Studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.


Debuted at the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition where he exhibited regularly until 1912.

1871 & 1874

Undertook study trips to Italy.


Married Olga Nensine Augusta Jacobs.


Honourable mention at the World Exhibition in Paris.


Awarded the Eckersberg Medal.


Died in Randboldal, Denmark

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