This early 20th-century oil painting by Danish artist Knud Edsberg (1911-2003) depicts an interior with a young girl and cat.
Edsberg celebrated family life and had an eye for capturing everyday heart-warming moments that would otherwise pass us by. Here, we see a young girl patiently waiting to top up a saucer of milk for a thirsty pet. She’s in the kitchen, kettle on the stove, broom leaning, aprons hanging on hooks. Everything rendered with exceptional ability. The artist had three children and often painted his daughter Birgitte, or ‘Gitte’ - this could be a friend of hers or a niece. Rarely did he work within other homes.
Remarkably, he was self-taught. Having met the great Danish artist, Laurits Tuxen (1853-1927) early in life, he worked hard over several years to impress him. But when finally plucking up the courage to show him his work, Tuxen was too frail to teach. By his own admittance, he was around 50 years too late, with a style influenced by the fine qualities of the old masters - particularly Rembrandt and Titian. But, for his interiors, he worked this way throughout his life, producing an oeuvre of pristine works.
One unusual nuance to Edsberg’s scenes relates to composition. Note the angle, with the artist looking down towards the corner of the stove. He employed this technique often and it creates interesting light effects. The girl is the central focus with the dominant lines pointing her way. The cat is secondary but a key aspect of the narrative.
For us, Edsberg remains highly underrated. Rarely do you find such character amid a work of such quality.
Signed/dated lower left and held within its original gilt frame.
Medium: Oil on canvas
Overall size: 33” x 29” / 84cm x 74cm
Year of creation: 1951
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some light wear.
Knud Edsberg was self-taught. His works are held in numerous Danish museums.
Learn more about Knud Edsberg in our directory.