Recently we visited Prince Waldemarsudde's Museum at Djurgården, Stockholm to see the brilliant swedish bird painter Lars Jonsson's exhibition of recent work. It's a beautiful, harmonic show to say the least. Displayed are one hundred and fifty new studies, sketches and paintings of birds ranging from the island of Gotland to the more remote areas of Antarctica and the Arctic to the Americas. I've written about him before here and here.
Lars Jonsson's watercolour kit.
The theme of the exhibition- Närvaro or Presence- focuses on places that have had special significance for his artistic activity. The exhibition's spread over 2 floors of the museum (which is worth seeing just for itself) and in the last room we were surprised to come upon the man himself working on a 12 foot oil painting of ducks flying low over the sea. He must be one of the very few artists to do this in the world. We watched him painting a few brushstrokes here and there, step back for a few minutes to contemplate and do the same thing again. This is the life of a painter. It's quiet and contemplative. You never get the sense that his work is just a technical exercise. Always there is a great sensitivity to the character and life of the individual bird. His watercolour technique is a combination of exceptional realism combined with the more abstract watery effects of watercolour paints. The oil paintings are denser and more physical. All of them show great sensitivity to the harmony of light and colour.
We spoke to him later and he said he'd be working on this painting or another until the end of the exhibition. A generous soul.
Lars Jonsson Närvaro (Presence)
6th October 2012 to 20th January 2013
at Prince Waldemarsudde's Museum
Prins Eugens Väg 6 Djurgården, Stockholm
Phone: (46) 08 545837 00
Hours: Tues to Sunday 11 - 5pm/ Tuesday evenings till 8pm.
Adults: 100 kronor
Under 18: free
Pensioners/students: 80 kronor
Talk on Lars Jonsson's oeuvre - in words and tones, Wednesday, Jan. 16 2013 at 6:00pm.
A conversation about the artistic process between artist Lars Jonsson and author Staffan Soderblom. The discussion is followed by a concert of contemporary music to Lars Jonsson works of Daniel Fjellström. (in swedish)