The art department’s highlights ahead of the autumn Fine Art and Antique

Ingenious artistic precision, powerful compositions and museum monumental works – this autumn’s Fine Art & Antiques offers rare art experiences. The Fine Art auction will be held on December 5–6 at Nybrogatan 32 in Stockholm. Viewing takes place between November 29 and December 4, the object catalog is published online. But already now, Cecilia Berggren, specialist and responsible for classical art, can present some of her selected highlights.

– In the art department, we see an unusual amount of fine and Swedish 19th-century painting. It is the work of both well-known and lesser-known signatures, but without having to compromise on the artistic qualities for the sake of it. During the year, we have seen great demand for this type of Swedish outdoor and mood painting, and how it not only appeals to buyers from Sweden but from all over the world. Which in turn suggests that it is not an interest based on recognition or nostalgia, but a pervasive feeling.

One of the most exciting highlights is signed Bertel Thorvaldsen, his relief “Backantinna and satyr” is a work of museum quality. At Thorvaldsen’s museum in Copenhagen, two almost identical versions of the relief from the auction can be found today – one in plaster and one in marble. In fact, this work that is now being auctioned was purchased from the sculptor’s estate in connection with an auction organized at the same museum in 1849, five years after Thorvaldsen’s death.

– Thorvaldsen’s graceful work has a captivating mythological narrative that has never fallen out of time, it continues to impress and almost seduce its viewer generation after generation. That “Backantinna and Satyr” is a work created with ingenious artistic precision is as true now as it was then. The textures are almost palpable and the soft movement is so precisely reproduced in the hard material, it truly expresses the timeless beauty of classical art.

Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844) has been considered one of the most influential sculptors of his time. He was already accepted at the age of eleven to the Royal Danske Kunstakademie in Copenhagen, where he was also awarded the large gold medal and a travel scholarship that took him to Rome in 1797. He would later refer to the day of his arrival as “his spiritual birthday”, when he came to live and operating in the Eternal City for most of his life. Today, the sculptor is honored in both of his hometowns, with Piazza Thorvaldsen on the northern edge of Rome’s Villa Borghese and with Denmark’s oldest museum – that’s right – Thorvaldsen’s museum in Copenhagen.

Another Scandinavian who explored the world with great enthusiasm was Helmer Osslund, he traveled around Europe in search of inspiration – and then found it in his own home regions. In 1898, what would become his life’s task began to depict the Norrland landscape and also take advantage on the natural mysticism that was a given trend in the wake of the romantic currents of the turn of the century. His artistic career came to express dramatic color contrasts, twilight vistas and high vantage points. The latter perspective is particularly highlighted in the work that will go under the hammer in Fine Art & Antique, “Autumn evening Nordingrå” is one of several portraits that Osslund made of the mile-wide view near the Ångermanland archipelago.

– This work shows Norrland painter Osslund’s skill in handling colors in a way that creates both harmony and drama at the same time, with the dark green mountains embracing the light blue shades of the water. At the same time, he plays with perspective in a skillful way, where we as viewers first feel close to the subject in the left foreground – and then open up the entire composition with the wonderful view of his beloved Nordingrå.

The artist Carl Fredrik Hill may have been one of Sweden’s foremost landscape painters, but during his period of illness he often turned to literature for inspiration and impressions. When it comes to the catalog number “Saved from Sacrifice II”, much of his intertextual material is borrowed from Handbook of Greek and Roman Mythology by Friedrich Nösselt, a source that was important to Hill during this time. It retells the story of King Agamemnon’s daughter Iphigenia, who sacrifices her life for father and country but is spared through divine intervention.

– According to the myth of Iphigenia, on her way to her death, she is said to have said: ‘My name shall shine in eternal fame’. Which Carl Fredrik Hill’s name has also done, not only through the rich material that is immortalized on paper – but also as an innovator of Swedish plein air painting and as a distinctive artistic voice that inspires, fascinates and influences artists to this day. This large and important drawing by CF Hill, which never ceases to fascinate, is definitely one of the most central works of the auction.

The Danish artist Carl Holsøe is the author of two of the auction’s most atmospheric works – “Interior” and “Interior with woman”. He was born in Århus in 1863, studied both at the Academy of Fine Arts

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