Physical Dimensions: w1200 x h1230 cm (without frame)
Artist Information: As the son of landscape painter and academy professor Edvard Bergh, Richard Bergh was introduced at an early age to the world of Swedish art. He himself was to devote his efforts more to figure painting than to landscape, although the latter plays an important part in many of his works. With his intellectual bent and literary ability, Bergh was for many years to be the spokesman of the new direction in art and a central figure in Swedish artistic life. His significance for public policy towards the arts and as an interpreter of the artistic and intellectual trends of his own day was immense, and was crowned in 1915 with his appointment as director-general of the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.Bergh’s own artistic career closely mirrored the developments of his time. After abandoning his studies at Stockholm’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts, he went to France in 1881, becoming a pupil at the Académie Colarossi and in the studio of J.P. Laurens in Paris. Like others of his generation, he joined the Opponents, a movement that demanded a reform of the teaching provided at the Stockholm Academy. In France he embraced Realism and devoted his summers to plein air painting, including in Grez-sur-Loing, and at the Paris Salon of 1883 he won a medal for a portrait of his fellow artist Nils Kreuger.
Bergh’s importance lay above all in his involvement over many years in the artistic debate in Sweden; his writing in which, with a sure touch, he formulated his own and his contemporaries’ artistic objectives; and his practical efforts to bring about reform. Berg’s wide-ranging contribution to modernizing the Nationalmuseum, making art the property of all and extending the collections of contemporary art was to be of particular significance.