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Figures on Beach
  • Artist Sigrid Hjertén (Swedish, 1885 - 1948)
  • TitleFigures on Beach
  • Dating 1917
  • Technique/MaterialOil on panel
  • Dimensions37,5 x 46 cm
  • AcquisitionGift of Osvald Arnulf-Olsson, 1962
  • CategoryOil painting
  • Inventory NumberGKM 1639
  • Display StatusOn display in Gothenburg Colourism I (Room 24)
Description
Signatures etc.
Bibliography
/The Canon: Perspectives on Swedish Art Historiography/
Sigrid Hjertén is now one of the prominent modernists in Swedish art history. However, during her lifetime, her art was often treated condescendingly by critics. She was often overshadowed by her controversial husband Isaac Grünewald. Since the 1980s, she has received more and more attention and today attracts more attention than her husband.

Figures on the Beach is typical of the artist’s decorative style with focus on colour. The work also shows the influence from Matisse’s style. She is said to be one of his favourite students during her time in Paris.
/The Canon: Perspectives on Swedish Art Historiography/

Figures on a Beach was painted in the summer of 1917, during a holiday in Gilleleje in Denmark. It shows some sunbathing women in the long white bathing suits typical of the day. In the foreground you can see a small child playing with a blue ball. Umbrellas and a beach tent interact in a rhythmic manner with the figures. To the right of the child, the long, points of bluish-green marram grass frame the women. In the background, a pair of men can be seen lying stretched out on their towels on the sand.

Her way with colour is characteristic of the artist’s work in this period, and shows how much she was influenced by French Fauvism: complementary colours are set against one another to increase their intensity. The picture gives a bright, warm impression, but also contains colder areas. There is a sense of a cool summer breeze, despite the warmth of the sun.

Per Dahlström from The Collection Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gothenburg 2014