Olle Nordberg, Winter Landscape With Lake

Olle Nordberg, Winter Landscape With Lake

This mid-20th-century oil painting by Swedish artist Olle Nordberg (1905-1986) depicts a chilly Winter’s landscape with a lake and small boat. It’s a rhythmical array of marks delivered via an adventurous palette.

Nordberg is generally regarded as a figure painter and his playful scenes sit somewhere between folk art, caricature and fantasy. Often, he painted couples sat within interiors, awkwardly poised, the air thick with questions, the backdrop elevated in vivid tones. But here, we see his approach applied to nature, equally interesting and captured with vigour.

Many compare Nordberg with the French artist Marc Chagall (1887-1985) and it’s easy to see why. Both artists painted with spirit and produced works that brought delight and tension in equal measure. At first glance, there’s a playfulness, a bold palette of youthful colours. Yet, dig a little further and there’s unease, something a little awry.

How does this work make you feel? On one hand, we see a small boat, gently moored and bobbing. The lake reflecting light in ripples. Yet on the other, the brushwork feels tense, broken, and jagged. While the clouds appear to be producing rain in contrast to the bright foreground. Perhaps it’s akin to a Rorschach test…

Nordberg trained at the Academy of Art in Stockholm, enrolling at 15 years old. He undertook various study trips and trained under Albert Engström, Alfred Bergström and Carl Wilhelmsson.

He’s represented in several public collections including the Swedish Modern Museum, Kalmar Art Museum and the Gothenburg Art Museum.

Signed, dated and framed.

Medium: Oil on board
Overall size: 23” x 19½” / 58cm x 50cm
Year of creation: 1951
Condition: Artwork presents well. Frame with some light wear.
Artist’s auction highlight: £12,000 achieved for an oil painting in 2008 (Christie’s).

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