From Dawn to Dusk: Nordic masterpieces on exhibit

"A masterpiece ... considered the greatest work of a person's career or a work of outstanding creativity, skill, profundity, or workmanship." 

  • Sea Approach to Stockholm, 1885 by Axel Lidman.
  • The National Nordic Museum in Seattle is the site of another American premiere, a landmark art exhibition from Sweden’s national museum, Nationalmuseum, in Stockholm. On February 19 “From Dawn to Dusk” opened with 56 masterpieces by the Nordic region’s leading 19th century artists, including Anders Zorn, August Strindberg, Bruno Liljefors, Carl Larsson, Hanna Hirsch-Pauli, Harriet Backer, Nils Kreuger and Vilhelm Hammershøi, among other favorites.

  • Lakeview at Engelsberg, Västmanland, 1893 by Olof Arborelius.
  • The exhibit marks a period of radical development of art in the Nordic countries through scenes of everyday life, portraits and landscapes. “This is an expansive look at one of the most popular periods in Nordic art with works by Denmark, Norway and Sweden’s greatest artists,” said Executive Director Eric Nelson. “We are most grateful to the Nationalmuseum for generously lending such extraordinary works.”

  • Jays, Bruno lLiljefors
  • Young artists tired of the conservative art scene around the turn of the 20th century, so they traveled abroad - most of them to France and particularly Paris - where they could experience personal freedom and a modern, cosmopolitan art scene. In particular, female artists encountered much better circumstances in Paris than at home in the Nordic countries.
    “In comparison to Stockholm, the [late 19th century] Parisian art world was an endless field of prosperous opportunities, and at the time, Paris was the incontestable art capital of the world. Young artists became increasingly aware of the more liberal art world in Paris, adding fuel to their frustration with the conservative academies in the North,” said Carl-Johan Olsson, the Nationalmuseum’s curator of 19th century painting.

  • Spring in Halland, 1894, by Nils Kreuer
  • From realism to impressionism
    The exhibit begins with paintings in the realist style that dominated the time, then follows the work of those artists who went abroad and saw their native countries with new eyes when they returned home. This return launched a new approach to painting, and the Nordic artists synthesized contemporary ideas, practices and styles they encountered abroad to depict the motifs of their home region. In the years that followed, the Nationalmuseum collected these exemplary works of this history.
    “From Dawn to Dusk: Nordic Art from Sweden’s Nationalmuseum” is on view exclusively at the National Nordic Museum in Seattle until July 17, 2022. Many opportunities to enjoy exhibition-related lectures, concerts, and art classes are offered via, including these March dates: March 2 at 6 p.m. – Rediscovered: August Strindberg as a Painter; March 9 at 2 p.m. – Gallery Tour.

  • Winter Scene from the Stockholm Waterfront, 1899 by Alfred Bergström.
  • The National Nordic Museum’s presentation of From Dawn to Dusk is organized by the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and the National Nordic Museum in Seattle, and was curated by the Nationalmuseum’s curator Carl-Johan Olsson. The exclusive North American presentation at the National Nordic Museum is coordinated by Leslie Anne Anderson, Director of Collections, Exhibitions and Programs, and has been made possible by Ann-Charlotte Gavel Adams, Peter and Sophia Ku in honor of Mrs. Viola Evelyn Greathouse, Maria Staaf and William Jones, The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, Scan Design Foundation, and the Robert Lehman Foundation.