Norwegian paintings from the 19th century to Birmingham

 Date:20/01/2006 - 23/04/2006
 Type:Culture, Painting
 Location:England, Birmingham

The captivating work of J C Dahl, one of the 19th century’s finest landscape painters, is the focus of this season’s major exhibition at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts in Birmingham.

31/01/2006 :: The exhibition 'Moonrise over Europe: J C Dahl and Romantic Landscape' at the University of Birmingham-based gallery features dazzling ‘moonlights’ by the Norwegian artist Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857), his predecessors and contemporaries, including Caspar David Friedrich, Claude-Joseph Vernet, Millet, Wright of Derby, Turner, and Samuel Palmer.

Dahl was a contemporary and friend of Friedrich, Europe’s leading landscape painter of the Romantic era, and from 1823, the pair even shared a house in Dresden.

Like many artists, musicians, and poets of his period, Dahl was fascinated by the theme of moonlight and this exhibition has as its centrepiece his haunting, gem-like little masterpiece Mother and Child by the Sea [1840] recently acquired by the gallery.

This highly atmospheric oil painting shows a woman and her infant looking out over the moonlit water as a small boat carrying the child’s father makes its way to the dark and rocky shore. The picture had particular resonance for Dahl as his own father was a fisherman.

Senior curator Paul Spencer-Longhurst at the gallery said the exhibition would provide a long-overdue reassessment of Dahl, whose work was often overshadowed by Friedrich's - particularly in this country, where only two paintings by Dahl are to be found in public collections.

“Their work certainly bears some strong similarities, and ‘Mother and Child by the Sea’ has sometimes been seen as Dahl’s tribute to his friend, as it was painted the year of the Friedrich’s death,” said Dr Spencer-Longhurst.

“This exhibition will set the Barber painting in context with Dahl’s work as a whole while studying his relationship to Friedrich and his development as a painter of ‘moonlights’. But just as importantly, the show will give the public a unique chance to enjoy some stunning and haunting masterpieces of Romantic landscape never normally present in Britain.”

Moonrise over Europe is the latest in the Barber’s popular and critically acclaimed ‘Picture in Focus’ series of loan exhibitions, and features major works from public and private collections in Britain and abroad, including the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Bergen Art Museum, the Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden and Tate Britain.

It will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and an extensive programme of supporting exhibitions, public lectures and other events.

To read an article about the exhibition and JC Dahl in The Telegraph, click here.

Moonrise over Europe: JC Dahl and Romantic Landscape
20 January - 23 April
The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
University of Birmingham
Birmingham B15 2TS
Phone: 0121 414 7333

Opening Hours
Monday - Saturday: 10.00 am - 5.00 pm
Sunday: 12 noon - 5.00 pm
Admission Free

Johan Christian Dahl (1788–1857), Mother and Child by the Sea [1840] Canvas, 21 x 31 cm, © The Barber Institute of Fine Arts 2006


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Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857), Boats on the Beach near Naples [1821] Oil on canvas 24.5 x 35 cmPhoto: © Bergen Art Museum, Norway

Johan Christian Dahl (1788–1857), Mother and Child by the Sea [1840], Canvas, 21 x 31 cmPhoto: © The Barber Institute of Fine Arts 2006

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