Nordic Impressions: Nils Dardel (Sweden)

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 (b. 1888, Bettna, Sweden; d. 1943, New York City) The Dying Dandy Den döende dandyn 1918 Oil on canvas 55 ⅛ x 70 ⅞ in. (140 x 180 cm) Moderna Museet, Stockhol

Nils Dardel,The Dying Dandy, 1918, Oil on canvas, 55 ⅛ x 70 ⅞ in., Moderna Museet, Stockholm

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