Wintertime in Greenland, 1875
Oil on canvas, 67 x 115 cm.
Inventory number: 0133NMK
Acquired before 1904. Bestowed to the museum in 1908
Instead of simply travelling to Southern Europe to study art, as most Danish artists did at some point in their career, Carl Rasmussen was one of the first Danish painters to visit Greenland. His encounter with the alien landscapes and culture made a lasting impression on the artist, who sought in his paintings to reproduce the country’s endless expanses, harsh climate and not least, the life of the local communities. Rasmussen’s art was particularly ground-breaking in its portrayal of the lives of Greenlanders, where their everyday joys and sorrows were characterised with much realism and insight. In this painting he has captured a cheerful everyday moment where a group of children are speeding down a steep snow-blanketed hill on a sled and skis. One of the young skiers has lost his footing, while the other looks at the group in the sled, which is about to overtake them.
Carl Rasmussen (1841-1893)
Rasmussen became renowned as the first painter of Greenland after selling a large number of paintings with Greenlandic motifs to English patrons and exhibiting extensively both in London and Paris. Rasmussen was in Greenland in 1870, and it is from this period that his depictions of the Arctic landscape, the history of Greenland and the Inuit way of life date. The paintings exhibit a realism and empathy which in the 1870s was groundbreaking.
Besides Greenland, it was the coastal landscapes of South Funen in which the marine painter Rasmussen found inspiration. He returned to his native island of Ærø and depicted everyday life and character sketches in a naturalistic style in portraits and genre paintings.
Rasmussen died on his way home from an expedition to Greenland in 1893, but remained an inspiration to others, including the illustrator and geologist Andreas Kornerup, as a painter of Greenland and the Arctic landscape.