Lines and Colors art blog

Frits Thaulow (update)

Frits Thaulow
Norwegian painter and engraver Frits Thaulow long ago became one of my favorite artists on the basis of a single painting in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Water Mill. I make a point of visiting it every time I’m at the museum.

This stunningly beautiful and dramatically large painting embodies Thaulow’s wonderful touch with the portrayal of small bodies of water. He captures again and again the mercurial effects of light as it dances over, under and through the rippled surfaces of small streams, canals, mill races and rivers.

Thaulow is often classed as a “Norwegian Impressionist”, and it’s interesting to compare his paintings to works by Sisley and Caillebotte; but like most painters outside the circle of original French Impressionism, he was actually a painter who learned when he liked from the French painters, but took it in his own direction, with a more naturalistic academic draftsmanship underlying the vibrant colors and painterly brushwork.

For that reason, and because of his command of light, color and tonal subtleties, I think of him in comparison to painters labeled “American Impressionists”, like William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Edmund Tarbell, and Daniel Garber.

When I first wrote about Thaulow for Lines and Colors back in 2006, there were few resources available and most of them frustratingly repeated the same 6 or 8 images. Last year, I wrote specifically about Thaulow’s Water Mill, and resorted to posting my own photo.

Since then, I’m delighted to say, resources for viewing Thaulow’s work on the web have expanded considerably, and you can now get a sense of his overall range of subject matter and approach.

In particular, Allpaintings Art Portal has an extensive collection of Thaulow’s work; be sure to click through on the text link above the main image for the larger version (see my post on Allpaintings Art Portal). There are other new and expanded resources, and I’ve listed as many as I can find below.

It’s obvious that interest is growing in the work of this wonderful Norwegian painter. Maybe it will even convince a publisher to bring out a new English edition of Vidar Poulsson’s hard to find book on Frits Thaulow. (See Vidar Poulsson’s comments on my original post for more details about the book.)

I’m particularly delighted to report that Thaulow’s Water Mill, which had disappointingly been rotated out of view and into storage last year, has been returned to view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. (Thanks to Barbara Lesley for letting me know.)

It’s like having an old friend move back into town.


9 responses to “Frits Thaulow (update)”

  1. Now THAT is genius!

  2. wow – thanks for introducing this guy! have to love the water!!!

  3. Just wanted to add my thanks to those already here. I had never heard of or seen this work before and am so pleased I added your site to my regular RSS feeds. A book would be a brilliant idea!

  4. Hey there, dig the site. I have recently decided to go full bore on building up my oil painting skills and was browsing the web for some inspiration. I have to agree with marctaro; that water is dynamite.

  5. Thank you, Charley, your blog is delicious! I have a button on my toolbar for linesandcolors. I come here to learn and this artist is worth learning! Wow! His sense of color and light is awe inspiring. Yes, a book of his work is much needed!

  6. you might want to check this out too:

  7. Thanks for the Thaulow update, Charley.
    You should write the book, I think!
    (The difficult bit is getting hold of the rights. The writing is easy by comparison!)

    1. Thanks, Michael, but I think I’ll leave both aspects of book writing to those more suited to the demands (grin). I’ll be happy to be a reader.

      Speaking of which, other readers who aren’t aware of Michael’s terrific blog, Articles & Texticles are missing out.

  8. Very useful and interesting blog – thank you!
    Do you know how I could get in touch with Vidar Poulsson?
    I have (I think) discovered a Frits Thaulow painting but need to verify it.
    I believe it to have been hanging somewhere in a fine old house in Bucharest, Romania, since before the start of WWII.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.