Saturday, May 2, 2015

Controversial Carl Larsson painting on Åland SEPAC stamp 10.4.2015

On 10 April, the 2015 Sepac stamp on a culture theme will be issued. Åland Post shows one of painter Carl Larsson’s most controversial and known paintings, Midvinterblot (‘Blót’).  The painting in the stamp, however, is a parallel work of art which is in the possession of Åland businessman Anders Wiklöf.

The smaller Midvinterblot was painted parallelly and – unlike its gigantic double –it was signed. The painting went under the hammer for SEK 3.2m at an auction in Stockholm in 2002 and is now included in Anders Wiklöf’s private collection at Andersudde.

Carl Larsson (1853-1919) is one of the most popular and well-known painters in Sweden. Midvinterblot shows another, more dramatic side to Carl Larsson. His source of inspiration was the skaldic poem Ynglingatal, dated to the early 900s. The painting depicts how Swedish king Domalde lets himself be sacrificed in order to avert years of famine. Measuring 6.4 x 13.6 m (90 m²), the monumental painting is now on display in the hall of the central staircase in Swedish National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm, but the road there was not uncomplicated. From first sketch to final version of the painting, Larsson had to fight the conservative establishment as well as his own more left-wing artist friends. The critics considered the painting to be unpalatable, historically incorrect and, finally, even outmoded. It was ultimately rejected by the National museum in 1916 and has changed owners several times. Since 1992, the painting hangs in National-museum as originally intended, obtained from a Japanese private collection.

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