Astrup, Nikolai, 1899 til 1907

Oil on canvas, 57x54cm, KODE - Bergen Art Museum

As is the case with the majority of Nikolai Astrup’s (1880-1928) works, to come up with an exact dating of Night presents difficulties.

One nevertheless presumes that the picture was painted some time before 1908. Although Astrup very rarely dated his own works, we have several different sources to go by. Aside from stylistic analyses, correspondence in particular can provide relevant information. In addition, lists of works exist that were compiled in connection with the three solo exhibitions he held at Blomqvist (1905), Bergen Art Association (1908) and Kunstnerforbundet (1911) respectively, in which information is given regarding the motifs, titles and formats of the various pictures. Other factors that can contribute to clarifying when a work was painted are the motif itself, and most significantly, the buildings one can spot in the painting at hand.

Natt was in all probability included in the exhibition at the Bergen Art Association in 1908, and the motif is from Astrup’s childhood home near Ålhus in Jølster; we can see the vicarage garden depicted on a light summer night, and behind the large ash, is a glimpse of the vicarage where the family lived. We also know that Astrup very rarely painted scenes from Ålhus after he moved away from there in 1911.