Open-Air Painter. Winter-Motif from Åsögatan 145, Stockholm

Carl Larsson1886

Nationalmuseum Sweden

Nationalmuseum Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden

Carl Larsson’s monumental painting Open-Air Painter has been seen as a manifesto for Nordic outdoor realism, which came into style in the 1880s. In addition to being a comment on the new practice of painting outdoors, it illustrates the repercussions this had on Scandinavian artists, who were now expected to work directly before their subject even in the cold winter. This specifically Nordic dimension of portraying the seasons attracted great attention when the painting was shown in Paris in 1886.


  • Title: Open-Air Painter. Winter-Motif from Åsögatan 145, Stockholm
  • Creator: Carl Larsson
  • Date Created: 1886
  • Title in Swedish: Friluftsmålaren. Vintermotiv från Åsögatan 145, Stockholm
  • Signature: C. LARSSON STOCKHOLM 1886
  • Physical Dimensions: w2090 x h1190 cm (without frame)
  • Artist Information: Born into a poor family, Larsson entered the preparatory school of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts at the age of just 13. From there he went on to be a successful student at the Academy proper from 1869, while supporting himself as photo retoucher and newspaper artist. In 1877-78 and 1880-85 he lived in France, where he abandoned academic painting in favour of Realism and developed into an outstanding watercolorist. The transition to watercolors came in 1882 when, his work having been refused by the Salon in Paris, he moved to the Scandinavian artists’ colony in the village of Grez-sur-Loing. Here Larsson gave himself up to painting unaffected, brightly lit depictions of everyday life, and met his future wife, the Karin Bergöö, whom he married the following year. Key emphases in his subsequent career were his monumental paintings for Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and his depictions of family life in his new home at Sundborn in Dalarna. With the latter, Larsson staked out a new artistic field, which provided the key to his unparalleled success, both in his own country and in Germany. The success was promoted, not least, by the fact that the watercolors from his home were collected in albums and printed in book form, with an accompanying text by the artist himself. The first and most important of these was A Home, which appeared in 1899 and employed a graphic linear style with coherent blocks of color, akin to both Japanese art and Art Nouveau. The watercolors in A Home were to assume considerable importance as models for a new type of single, yet tasteful and innovative, domestic interior decoration.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Nationalmuseum, Nationalmuseum
  • Medium: Oil on canvas

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