Into the Forest, Out Into the Light

August Cappelen and Lars Hertervig

01. Nov 2019 - 01. Mar 2020

When Lars Hertervig went to Düsseldorf in 1852 to study privately with Hans Gude, August Cappelen was already suffering from cancer. Cappelen died on 8 July 1852, only 25 years old. He had experienced rapid artistic development just a few months earlier and was already considered one of the most promising artists in Düsseldorf. Cappelen and Hertervig never knew each other, but Hertervig most certainly drew inspiration from Cappelen’s art.

There are many similarities between the two artists’ works: twisted pines, primeval forests, mammoth boulders and landscapes largely devoid of people. There are also contrasts between dark and light passages and between decaying and thriving nature. Both men studied art at a time when National Romanticism was at its zenith, but they both also preferred local rather than national subject matter. Culling inspiration from German Late Romanticism, Cappelen painted forest scenes from Telemark, while Hertervig found his subjects in Sunnhordland and Tysvær. The art of Cappelen and Hertervig is imbued with a fundamentally melancholic mood, and it is this that the exhibition Into the Forest, Out Into the Light: August Cappelen and Lars Hertervig seeks to convey.

This is the first time the two artists’ works are presented together in an exhibition, even though their art has been compared ever since Hertervig’s oeuvre was rediscovered in 1914. The exhibition concentrates on oil paintings and presents almost 40 works. This is a large number considering the few years in which the two painted in oil. Since several of Cappelen’s works are in private collections, the exhibition offers a rare opportunity to see them. The National Museum in Oslo has contributed several paintings, including Decaying Forest by Cappelen and The Island Borgøya by Hertervig.