Waterfall in Småland, 1856
Oil on canvas, 190 x 233 cm
Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, NM 1713
Marcus Larson was one of a number of Swedish painters who in the 1850s travelled to Düsseldorf. There, in the work of the Norwegian Hans Gude, he felt he found a new art that provided a true picture of the Nordic character. However, his most important source of inspiration was to be the dramatic shipwrecks and waterfalls by Andreas Achenbach which he encountered in Düsseldorf, supplemented by impressions of French colourism.
Waterfall in Småland, with its striking illusionism and carefully crafted theatrical effects, marks a high point in Larson's work. With all the means at his disposal, from nature studies and photographs to new, bright chromium and cadmium paints, he attempted here to create a sublime vision of Swedish nature. It was qualities such as these that caused a sensation and directed Swedish landscape painting along new paths. Attempts to persuade the Swedish Parliament to buy this work proved to no avail, however. Not until 1910 did it find its way into the Nationalmuseum's collections as the result of a private bequest.