- Artist: Axel Revold
- Creation date: (1913)
- Object type: Painting
Axel Revold painted this picture while staying in Marseilles, and it is a fine example of how the insights of Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse were appropriated by Norwegian artists at the dawn of the twentieth century. Revold studied with Matisse; he was considered to be one of the Norwegian Matisse students. A prime concern in this mode of painting is to work on composition and liberate colour from a naturalistic depiction.
The painting at hand can be seen as a portrait, but individual and personal aspects seem to be downplayed in favour of an abstract play with shapes and the effect of colours. The woman sits turned halfway away, tentative and lost in her own thoughts. The lines of the painting draw our attention toward the woman’s pale face. The solid composition builds on a few dominating hues that have been added to demarcated areas, with complementary contrasts and harmonizing, intermediary colours. This “three-colour scale” and ensuing alternation between contrasting and harmonizing elements underlay Revold’s art and was a technique he himself passed on during his many years as a professor at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo (1925–46); this is why we speak of a distinct Revold school in Norwegian art history. He is otherwise known for his large mural decorations and for his contributions to the so- called fresco era, with the frescoes of the former Bergen Stock Exchange (completed in 1923) as a particular highlight.
This painting was created during Revold’s breakthrough year as an artist, and was included in the Centennial Exhibition in Kristiania in 1914, where Revold participated as a member of the breakaway group “The 14”.