Nygaard, Thorvald ‎(1892-1973)

Nygaard, Thorvald ‎(1892-1973)

Thorvald Nygaard found in art a way to allow creativity to flow whilst using his training and profession as an architect to enhance his work. Nygaard had both trained in art and in architecture as a young man, attending the Danish Royal Academy of Fine Art alongside an apprenticeship in brickmaking. The two professions often went hand in hand, and therefore it is not surprising to find that Nygaard complimented his career with a passion for painting.

Perhaps he undertook a profession in architecture as this was the more financially secure choice. Nonetheless, it did nothing to stem the creative flow of his work. Indeed, it enhances it, his sound knowledge of building construction and composition coming in handy. His works are predominantly city scenes, depicting people bustling about in their business under the looming watch of the buildings which tower over them. Indeed, Nygaard often paints with a realistic flourish which allows him to capture the buildings of Denmark in various states. The golden gilding atop Christiansborg Palace glimmers grandly in the light of a peachy summer’s day. Contrastingly, a church is frosted with snow, its spire becoming consumed by the gloomy sky of an oppressive winter’s day.

Even when figures become swamped with the fast flash of the impressionistic style, the buildings remain established, sound shapes in Nygaard’s work. A fascinating interior example is of the Forum in Copenhagen. A multi-purpose space, Nygaard depicts it during its tenure as the venue for the annual Six Day Race, a cycling competition held over six days, during which the riding team who remained cycling the longest wins.

Here, once more, the crowd becomes swallowed by dashes of paint which blurs any distinct features. They are, for the most part, washes of dark tones. Instead, Nygaard’s focus is on the grandiosity of the venue, capturing in slimmer, longer caresses of his brush the steel beams supporting the ceiling, the construction of the velodrome itself in the wooden framing. He captures in a smooth, snaking band of yellow the curve of the track. The building is certainly the focus of Nygaard’s painting, not the efforts of the cyclists.

Nygaard was responsible for the construction of many new houses in his hometown of Odense, running an architecture firm with his son, Erling Nygaard. Whether or not he captured paintings of his own architectural creations is unclear. However, what is certain is his fascination with the buildings of his homeland and how human life is created of them and around them, and his passion for capturing these in paint on canvas.


Born in Odense, Denmark.


Studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Copenhagen.


Travelled to Norway and Sweden.


Awarded the K.A. Larssen’s scholarship.


Awarded Sørensen's scholarship.


Exhibited at the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition, Copenhagen.


Married Helga Christiane Qvist. Travelled to Italy.


Travelled to Germany.


Exhibited at the Charlottenborg Spring Exhibition, Copenhagen.


Travelled to Sweden.


Wife Helga Christiane Qvist died. Married Viola Hansigne le Fèvre Albertsen.



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