A château in Normandy

Frits Thaulow

(Oslo, 1847 - Volendam, 1906)

A château in Normandy

Oil on canvas

82 x 102 cm (32½ x 40¼ in.)

Circa 1895

Signed Frits Thaulow 

Probably, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris - Possibly, Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, New York (by 1904; erroneously as Winter Scene near Copenhagen) 
Sale: Bukowski, Stockholm, 4 April 1973, lot 191 (erroneously locating the view near Kristiania, Oslo)
Omell Galleries, London
Purchased from the above by the previous owner on 19 September 1973

Thaulow was Paul Gauguin's brother-in-law and a close friend of Claude Monet. As it matures, Thaulow's work clearly shows the influence of the French Impressionists and later the Post Impressionists, interpreted from a distinctly Nordic viewpoint. He often worked and exhibited in France, where he lived from 1892 until his death in 1906, in addition to regularly returning to Norway to paint. In the autumn of 1894, Thaulow moved from Montreuil-sur-Mer (Pas-de-Calais) to Dieppe in Normandy, where he was to remain for four years. Heavy snow in January 1895 gave the artist an opportunity to study and paint French winter scenes around Dieppe, notably the village of Petit-Appeville by the river Scie close to Dieppe. The present work compositionally relates to a series of four pastels (each measuring circa 65 by 80cm.) from this period, although the architecture in the present work is more elaborate and a stone bridge has been added. It is possible that the present work is the one sold by Edward Brandus at the Fifth Avenue Art Galleries in New York in April 1908, although the title of that painting, Winter Scene near Copenhagen, is a misnomer as Thaulow did not paint any of his winter scenes in Denmark. Brandus was a regular buyer at Thaulow's dealer Georges Petit, suggesting a possible earlier provenance, and the frame is typical of frames sold by that gallery. Winter views, such as the present work, numbered among Thaulow's favourite subjects. Viewed through the prism of progressive French painting, Thaulow commented in an interview for the Verden Gang in January 1901: 'Look at these old, red buildings with the white snow and the black water. Nothing is as lovely as red and black. In the summer the red colour will be dull and the river will have no colour. It is the white snow which gives the colours their value'.