Christian Krohg's Naturalism
New Directions in Scandinavian Studies
Published by: University of Washington Press
272 pages, 178.00 x 254.00 mm, 72 b&w illus., 16 color plates
- ISBN: 9780295749198
- Published: February 2021
The Norwegian painter, novelist, and social critic Christian Krohg (1852–1925) is best known for creating highly political paintings of workers, prostitutes, and Skagen fishermen of the 1880s and for serving as a mentor to Edvard Munch. One of the Nordic countries’ most avant-garde naturalist artists, Krohg was influenced by French thinkers such as Émile Zola, Claude Bernard, and Hippolyte Taine, and he shocked the provincial sensibilities of his time. His work reached beyond the art world when his book Albertine and its related paintings were banned upon publication. Telling the story of a young seamstress who turns to a life of prostitution, it galvanized support for outlawing prostitution in Norway—but Krohg was also punished for the work’s sexual content.
Examining the theories of Krohg and his fellow naturalists and their reception in Scandinavian intellectual circles, Øystein Sjåstad places Krohg in an international perspective and reveals his striking contribution to European naturalism. In the process, Christian Krohg’s Naturalism provides an unparalleled account of Krohg’s art.
List of Illustrations
1. Christian Krohg, the Radical Naturalist
2. Naturalism, the Dark Side of Realism
3. The Heroism of the Scientist
4. Hippolyte Taine and the Modern Breakthrough in Scandinavia
5. Christian Krohg in Skagen: Painting according to Taine
6. Naturalism and the Beholder: Sympathy and Theatricality
7. Naturalist Paragone: Literature and Painting
8. Albertine in the Police Doctor’s Waiting Room: Panopticon, Spectacle, Speculum
9. Modern Pessimism: From Naturalism to Symbolism
Epilogue: Naturalism Is Dead, Long Live Naturalism!