Red Church Wall in Venice

  • Artist: Frits Thaulow
  • Creation date: (1894)
  • Object type: Painting


Frits Thaulow visited Venice on two occasions, in 1894 and 1897. Red Church Wall in Venice was probably painted during his sojourn in 1894. The painting is dominated by the contrast between the vivid, red wall in the centre, the chalk-white edifice to the left, and the grey flagstone walkway to the right, which he created with the harmonious hues he associated with Venice: “dusty pink and oxidized silver-grey”. The chromatic play of the red wall has been exquisitely rendered by means of the quick, short brushstrokes of impressionism.

Both Red Church Wall in Venice and Winter exemplify Thaulow’s principal mission as an artist: l’art pour l’art, art for art’s sake. Unlike his friend, colleague, and brother-in-law Christian Krohg, Thaulow had no wish to propagate a political or social message in his paintings. His stated purpose was rather to accentuate the artistry and the tactile qualities of the various elements. Red Church Wall in Venice features a small part of Venice that fascinated Thaulow. Some of his travelogues recount the urban life of Venice, featuring both the local populace and the countless visitors. This painting, conversely, does not include any people. Thaulow focused instead on the artistry, and the almost sketch-like size suggests that it might have been painted on site. We see how Thaulow has worked with the lighting on the wall of the red building, the gravelled square, and the flagstone walkway. Despite its modest size, the depiction is both heartfelt and powerful.

Text: Ellen J. Lerberg

From "Highlights. Art from Antiquity to 1945", Nasjonalmuseet 2014, ISBN 978-82-8154-088-0


Frits Thaulow


Born 1847 in Oslo, death 1906 in Volendam

Work info

Creation date:
Other titles:
Rød kirkevegg (NOR)
Object type:
Materials and techniques:
Olje på lerret
  • Height: 38.5 cm
  • Width: 46.3 cm
  • Depth: 2.1 cm
Kjøpt for A.C. Houens fond 1907
Inventory no.:
Cataloguing level:
Single object
Owner and collection:
Nasjonalmuseet for kunst, arkitektur og design, The Fine Art Collections
Lathion, Jacques