Thursday, June 9, 2016

E R N S T  J O S E P H S O N


Seventeen years old (1868), Ernst Josephson started at the Academy of Fine Arts where he studied for eight years. During his last year of studies, he was awarded the Royal Medal for his painting Sten Sture d. ä. releases Queen Christina of Denmark. 

He did his art studies in Italy, France and the Netherlands, among others, and is reputed to have said at the age of 20: "I will become Sweden's Rembrandt or die." 

Ernst Josephson (1851, Stockholm, Sweden – 1906) was a Swedish painter from a prominent Jewish family, whose main work was on portraits and paintings of folk life. 

From 1877 to 1880, he traveled on scholarship to Holland and Italy where he studied the great painting masters and did brilliant renderings of some of them, including Rembrandt, Tiziano Vecellio (Titian) (ca. 1477-1576), Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael) (1483-1520), Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), Frans Hals (ca. 1581-1666) and Adriaen Brouwer (1605-1638).

From Rome, he moved to Paris where he had his debut at the Salon 1880 with the portraits of the painter C. Skånberg and sculptor A. Sterlind, which proved Josephson's excellence as a portrait painter. He then traveled to Spain where he painted in 1882 Cigarettmakerskor och Spanska Smeder

After Spain, he traveled to Morocco, Belgium, Germany and Norway.

However, his life was marred by illness. He contracted syphilis at a relatively young age, and in 1888 he became mentally ill during a visit to Brittany, having religious hallucinations. He was later taken to hospital in Uppsala and diagnosed with schizophrenia, but continued working throughout his disease, often while in a trance-like state.

In 1893 was an exhibition of his works organized in Stockholm. There were, among other things, Strömkarlen, which he painted in 1884 Eggedal in Norway. However, Prince Eugén, Duke of Närke, bought the painting in fury over the decision. His main work, Näcken (1884) was rejected by the Swedish National Museum in Stockholm. 

Ernst Josephson - FOTO: Wikipedia

Strömkarlen shows the strong influence he has had on the current crop of Scandinavian figurative painters, most notably the Norwegian Odd Nerdrum.

At the Salon 1883 Josephson was awarded the silver medal for his spiritual work, On July 14th

In the 1880s Josephson settled in Stockholm, where he became one of the leaders of the "opponents". He participated in exhibitions n 1885 and 1886, and also in the establishment of the arts counsel. 

Josephson also wrote poetry. Poems from his collection are Svarta rosor (1888, Black Roses) and Gula rosor (1896, Yellow Roses). 

Mental illness unfortunately interrupted prematurely his painting.

Ernst died unmarried on 22 November 1906, 55 years old.