Lundegård, Justus (1860-1924)

Lundegård, Justus (1860-1924)
Lundegård, Justus (1860-1924)

Justus Lundegård was one of the leading figures in the development and encouragement of art in Sweden in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Lundegård’s temperament was much suited to the painterly profession. In adulthood he was at first coerced into a career in engineering by his father, who was concerned about his son practising a stable, safe profession. Natural inclination won out in the end, however, when Lundegård enrolled into Edvard Perséus’ (1841-1890) painting school. Here he discovered his artistic tendencies, began to cultivate them and watch them bloom. Perséus was the perfect professor to nourish this flourishing. His approach to teaching was said to be relaxed, never conscripting what style a student should practice but instead allowing natural experimentation to lead.

Lundegård discovered a love for painting landscapes, in particular coastal scenes with a focus on the juxtaposition between fluid water and solid rock. His early work proscribes to a much more naturalistic, detailed style, as was popular in Sweden. The horizon is a thin, crystalline white line in a landscape with rich, cloudy sky reflected effectively in the calm sea below. In the foreground, a detailed, craggy cliff face crumbles into disparate rocks, peppered with pebbles and stringy seaweed.

Lundegård must surely have been excited to receive admission for education into the hallowed halls of the Swedish Royal Academy of Fine Arts. However, following Perséus’ laid-back manner, the tight strictures of academic discipline must have proved too restricting. Lundegård did not appreciate the academy’s best attempts to quash the natural talents of its students and instead force them into venerating only certain styles and subjects of art.

Lundegård therefore joined The Opponents, a collective of Swedish artists who were keen to promote modern styles of art and to destabilise the near-dictatorship of the Royal Academy. Lundegård found doors being opened into even more varied styles of art. A trip to Paris in 1891 proved particularly influential. It was here he was introduced to impressionism and fell in love with the style.

The majority of Lundegård’s work is executed in the emotional, reactive style of the Impressionists. Clouds no longer gently simmer in pale skies but instead dance and swell like sea foam upon a surface of vibrant blues. Harbour waters reflect back the wobbly reflections of solid sailboats, adding an element of whimsy, which coupled with the far-off mountains tipped with gentle pastels, creates a sense of the fantastical. Farmhouses are built from solid, satisfying brushstrokes, hidden amongst wispy bushes and distant pine trees, sliced in green.

Lundegård did travel further afield to countries such as Italy and Bavaria to conjure inspiration, however it was his native Sweden that offered up the most to his artistic sensibilities. Many of his landscapes depict his favoured locations such as Kullaberg and later Vadmöllan.

Lundegård’s passion spread from his canvas to the real world beyond. His time as a member of The Opponents surely rubbed off on him, as he became instrumental in the encouragement of art across Sweden. He was a founding member of the Scanian Artists’ Association, which aided the growth of artists in the more rural province of Scania. He also ran his own private painting school in Lund for a number of years.

In his art, too, he was keen to keep up with the current styles, as long as they enabled him to express his painterly passion. His later works are infused with a deeper colour scheme than is typical in his impressionist work, but much more in keeping with developments in Swedish art. His brushwork becomes even more active. Sharp, sudden smears across the canvas create hillside thickets and bush, the ocean becomes more ominous as a deeper flush tints its waters.

The development of Lundegård’s art is a fascinating study, one that demonstrates the artist’s fascination with nature, and his constant attempts to capture its essence. A number of Lundegård’s works are now held in museums across Sweden, including the Malmö and Gothenburg Museums.


Born in Eslöv, Västra Sallerup, Sweden.


Studied with Edvard Perséus.


Studied at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts.


Travelled to Munich.


Became a member of The Opponents.


Ran a painting school in Lund, Sweden.


Travelled to France.


Exhibited at the Paris Salon.


Exhibited in Helsingborg, Sweden.


Moved to Ramlösa, Sweden.


Member of the judicial committee for the exhibition of art at the Helsingborg Industry, Arts, and Crafts Exhibition.


Married Emma Caroline Catharina (Käthe) Berger.


Moved to Tjörnarp, Skåne, Sweden.


Moved to Ӧrtofta. Exhibited at the Baltic Exhibition in Malmö.


Died in Lund. Buried in the Northern Cemetery.

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