Choose from a selected group of artists represented in the exhibition A Mirror of Nature: Nordic Landscape Painting 1840-1910.
Kitty Lange Kielland
Stavanger 1843 - Kristiania 1914, Norwegian
Kitty L. Kielland was born in Stavanger in 1843, into an old-established, patrician family. The famous author Alexander L. Kielland was her brother, and their contact with each other was important to both of them as artists. Kitty was not able to embark on serious study until she was 30. She had decided she wanted to be a landscape painter, and so it was to Karlsruhe she travelled in 1873, where Hans Gude was professor. As a woman, she had to be his private pupil. She worked hard, and was quick to make progress. Gude's realism had a lasting influence on her art. In 1875 she moved to Munich, joining the Norwegian artists' colony there. Her regular summer stays in the late 1870s on the Jæren moorland in south-western Norway, not far from her native Stavanger, had a decisive impact on her choice of subject-matter. The monotonous landscape with its huge skies, dark peat bogs and slow-moving streams became a favourite motif. She saw beauty in sombre scenery hitherto ignored in Norwegian art. In 1879 she moved to Paris, and exhibited for the first time that same year. View of Ogna, Jæren, a work still bearing the hallmark of Gude and his realism, was shown at the Salon. She lived in Paris for ten years, and responded to new artistic impulses. For the first few years she was a pupil of the landscape painter Léon Pelouse (1838-1891), who lived and worked in the village of Cernay-la-Ville. Puvis de Chavannes' large decoration Le Bois sacré was exhibited at the Salon in 1884, and came to affect the development of Neo-Romanticism in Norway in the late 1880s. Kitty L. Kielland, in her Summer Night of 1886, was one of the first to reinterpret for a Norwegian context the mood of evening conveyed by Puvis' picture. During the 1890s Kielland simplified her idiom and made it more succinct, under the influence of the Danish artist J.F. Willumsen and of Synthetism. Bold flower pictures and scenes high in the mountains predominate in the work of her last period. Kielland participated eagerly in the public debates of her day about the arts and about women's rights. Towards the end of her life she painted little. She suffered from senile dementia for several years, and died in Kristiania (Oslo) in 1914.