Karl Georg Arsenius, Portrait Of A Chestnut Horse

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A cheerful depiction of a chestnut horse in a stable by Swedish painter, Karl Georg Arsenius (1855-1908). Following his tuition at the Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm, Arsenius had the fortune of studying in Paris at one of its most exciting times. He moved there in 1882, during a period known as ‘the Belle Époque’, and he would’ve witnessed several grand events, such as the construction of the Eiffel Tower and The Exposition Universelle (where he exhibited). This storm of creativity and progress also provided the catalyst for the controversial Impressionists, who, by 1882, had already left their indelible mark on the City.

It’s interesting to consider how far Arsenius’ studies incorporated the work of the Impressionists as the City was still so divided on whether impressionism constituted ‘good art’. A few of his works seem to embrace the casual, light and airy style whole-hearty, yet others are a little finer.

This particular piece is typical of the way he painted horses within stable interiors. The horse itself has some fine details and Arsenius has paid great attention to the way the light reflects from the horse's muscular frame. Yet, the stable, including the hay underfoot, appears to have been painted quickly with lively brushwork.

Several works by this notable Scandinavian artist are held in public collections, including at the National Museum in Stockholm and the Gothenburg Art Museum.

Signed and dated in the bottom right.

Oil on canvas
Size including frame
22” x 18¾” / 56cm x 48cm
Year of creation
One patched repair and corresponding touch up to the canvas. Frame with several losses.
Artist’s auction highlight
£22,250 achieved at Sotheby’s, Paris, in 1885 for ‘Retour des courses’ (238cm x 207cm).