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Frits Thaulow (Norway 1847‑1906)

Lysakerelva a winter day

To be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale Week 11 – 14 June 2024

Lot 679 Frits Thaulow (Norway 1847‑1906). Lysakerelva a winter day. Signed Frits Thaulow lower right. Oil on canvas, 65.5 x 92 cm.

Executed in the 1890s.


200.000 – 300.000 SEK
€ 17.000 – 26.000


Fritzes Kungl. Hovbokhandel, Stockholm.
Bukowskis, Stockholm, 30 October-2 November 1984, lot 544.
A Swedish private collection.
Åmells konsthandel, Stockholm.


Claudie Judrin, Frits Thaulow – un norvégien français, 1994, compare with the pastel “Une fabrique en hiver en Norveige”, 1892, described p. 84 and illustrated p. 85.
Vidar Poulsson, Frits Thaulow, Raderinger, compare with the colour etching “Inntrykk fra sne (Effet de Neige)”, described p. 42 and illustrated p. 43.

In context

It’s a sunny winter day. The Lysaker River (Lysakerelva) is quietly passing the red factory, showing its reflections in the water. The Norwegian painter Frits Thaulow excels in the caption of the water, the snow and the beautiful glowing winter day.

Thaulow, born in Christiania in 1847, studied at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen in 1870-72, and later with Hans Gude at the Baden School of Art in Karlsruhe is today considered one of the foremost landscape painters from Norway. During his years in Paris he adapted to a vivid and renewed style under the influence of Swedish landscape painter Carl Skånberg, as well as the more academic realist painters such as Jules Bastien-Lepage and Charles Daubigny. Together with his friend Christian Krohg he was one of the earliest artists to paint in Skagen during the summer and autumn of 1879. Educated in marine painting, he mostly captured the fishermen and the boats on the shores in Skagen. Having become the front figure in the Norwegian art scene when he moved back home, he helped to establish the first National Art Exhibit. He also founded an academy for landscape painting. In 1883 during a visit to Åmot in Modum he was exposed to the endless painterly possibilities the slow pace of water in the passing river offered. An impression affecting the artist so deep he would return to this again and again.

Thaulow specialised in landscape paintings, mastering depictions of water as well as snow in the Norwegian landscape. His plein-air paintings influenced by both realism and impressionism became highly appreciated. He later left Norway to find inspiration and new motifs in France and the Low Countries. The warm climate suited Thaulow who had gained success abroad. He was already a well-established painter in the Paris art scene as he exhibited his works at the Salon and could live well from his contracts with art dealers such as George Petit, I. Montaignac and S. Bing. He repeatedly painted the running water of rivers and canals in cities and towns such as Paris, Dieppe, Dordogne and Bruges. Occasionally he returned to his home country, even in winter time. During his lifetime he was however almost more known abroad than in Norway.

During the winter 1891-92 Thaulow stayed in Hvalstad by Oslofjorden. He was preparing three large exhibitions for the following spring; one in Stockholm together with fellow painter Erik Werenskiöld, one in Berlin and in April the Salon in Paris. He executed several pastels with winter scenes from the Lysakerelva, among these one titled “Une fabrique en hiver en Norvège” was sold to the French state at the Salon (first Musée de Luxembourg, today in the collection of Musée d’Orsay). These pastels show the water slowly passing the red low factory building at the shore. The dark water is framed by the white snow-covered ice and surroundings. This appreciated motif was later repeated by Thaulow in several versions in oil, with different light from bright daylight to the more subtle air of the break of the day. The painting included in this sale “Lysakerelva a winter day” is not dated but surely belongs to Thaulow’s 1890s production. It is closely related to his pastels from 1891-92, whereas the one sold to the French state in 1893 is the closest to our oil painting in the composition.

From 1903 Frits Thaulow reworked some of his favorite motifs into colour etchings. One of these is the view from Lysakerelva, based on the pastel from 1892 (which bears close resemblance to our painting) Thaulow reproduced the etching called “Inntrykk fra sne (Effet de Neige)” between 1903 and 1906.

Known as the foremost Norwegian impressionist his paintings are glowing with his well-tuned colours. The painterly qualities with the calm atmosphere are significant for Thaulow and well represented in the painting in this sale.

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Julia Unge Sörling


Classic Art & Old Masters
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