A profoundly sensitive painter and innovative printmaker, Nikolai Astrup became one of Norway’s most renowned twentieth-century artists. Together with Edvard Munch, he expanded the artistic possibilities of the woodcut, consciously blurring the boundaries between prints and paintings to convey the ‘inner pictures’ that were the mainspring of his creativity.
Best known for his luminous paintings of midsummer nights, especially Norway’s famous Midsummer Eve bonfires, Astrup evoked in his landscapes the atmosphere and mood characteristic of the changing seasons in his home region of Jølster.
Astrup was driven by the desire to create a ‘national style’— quintessentially Norwegian in feeling and subject matter — combining elements of realism and a conscious naivete. His distinctive visual language references aspects of Norwegian folklore, from fields of grain poles evoking armies of trolls to mythical creatures emerging from the snow-capped mountains.
Featuring over a hundred oil paintings and prints, including works from private collections never exhibited before, this book accompanied the first UK exhibition of Astrup’s unique and extraordinary work at Dulwich Picture Gallery in 2016.