Highlighting one artist featured in Nordic Impressions: Art from Åland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, 1821–2018.
The brilliantly eccentric Swedish painter Nils Dardel (b. 1888, Bettna, Sweden; d. 1943, New York City) studied at the Stockholm Royal Academy of Arts and like many Swedish artist spent years in Paris, where he was introduced to fauvism and frequented the surrealist and dadaist circles. His accomplished society portraits were so flattering that his studio was called “Dardel’s aesthetic beauty parlor.” Developed in the late 1910s, Dardel’s distinctly flamboyant style is known as “Dardelism,” a sort of masked autobiographical realist approach immersed in dreamlike fantasies, not unlike the colorful, light-hearted paintings by the American painter and saloniste Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944).
In The Dying Dandy (1918), the artist has depicted himself near death. Wearing a stylish green suit, his right hand grasping a handheld mirror and his left gripping his chest, he is surrounded by equally well-dressed mourning friends. Dardel painted several premonitions of his death (he suffered from a lifelong heart condition) before he died of a heart attack in 1944 in New York.
The Dying Dandy is on view at the Phillips through January 13 in Nordic Impressions.
Nils Dardel,The Dying Dandy, 1918, Oil on canvas, 55 ⅛ x 70 ⅞ in., Moderna Museet, Stockholm
In a new series of works currently on view at The Fridge gallery in Southeast DC, Phillips Collection Museum Assistant Joel Ulmer displays a series of oil paintings exploring race and class based on his experience growing up in Washington. His work, much of which reflects the internal tension he felt being raised in a low-income neighborhood in Southeast while attending high school in an affluent neighborhood across town, contrasts Rockwellian style imagery with an intimate portrayal of the African American experience. Several of the 21 works on view are inspired by Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series in the Phillips’s collection.
Image Copyright Joel Ulmer 2018
Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel no. 11: Food had doubled in price because of the war., 1940-41, Casein tempera on hardboard, 18 x 12 in. The Phillips Collection, Acquired 1942
Image Copyright Joel Ulmer 2018
Jacob Lawrence, Panel no. 57: The female workers were the last to arrive north, 1940–41, Casein tempera on hardboard, 18 x 12 in. The Phillips Collection, Acquired 1942
You can see Ulmer’s (aka @JoelVincii) work at The Fridge gallery through Wednesday, October 28. Visit the Phillips to see Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series.
The colorful installations by the Sámi artist Outi Pieski featured in Nordic Impressions are made with traditional shawl-making techniques. Her work combines hundreds of colored Sámi tassels tied to wooden branches to create an immersive, undulating drawing in space. Pieski’s art interweaves memories of the indigenous people of Scandinavia with the mountainous landscape of the north.
The Phillips Collection’s Head of Conservation Elizabeth Steele spoke with Culture Radar‘s Ann Greer about the therapeutic installation of a piece that is as beautiful as it is fragile. “The longer wings folded like an accordion, and there was the inevitable tangle. One person on a ladder would fit a wing on the frame, and the other two of us let it unfold. Then we spent the next half hour untangling. It is well made and was well labeled, it was easy in that respect, there was no guesswork. But it is fragile, and birch branches will snap easily.”
Steele notes that installing “Crossing Paths” was similar to restoring a painting, in that it was repetitive and almost therapeutic.
“We got into it, it was very Zen,” Steele chuckles. “Just staring at the artwork for about ten hours was calming.”
You can read all about the installation of Crossing Paths in Culture Radar and view the work at the Phillips until January 13.
Outi Pieski, Crossing Paths,
2014, Wood and threads, Courtesy of the artist