Girl seated on a stone wall signed 'Hans-Dahl' (lower centre), oil on canvas 34.5 x 50.5cm (13 9/16 x 19 7/8in).
Hans Dahl was born in Hardanger, West Norway in 1849. It was whilst he attended military academy that he received his first formal training and in 1874 he left the army to pursue a career as an artist, training in Karlsruhe and Dusseldorf. Whilst in Dusseldorf the Norwegian romanticist artist Hans Gude became his mentor and principle influence. Gude's insistence upon 'Plein air' painting informed Hans Dahl's painting habits throughout his life.
Dahl's first exhibition was in Dusseldorf in 1876, his work of the period is generally a looser, more impressionistic style than that which he became known for, although the particular light which floods his later paintings is evident throughout his career. He moved to Berlin in 1888 and was one of a generation of Norwegian artists who were criticised for forsaking their homeland for the greater artistic opportunities of Germany, but he would return to sketch in Norway during the summer months and in 1893 he commissioned the construction of his iconic residence in Balestrand on the banks of the Sognefjord. This became his summer residence and he settled there exclusively in 1919.
Hans Dahl's mature style is typified by his celebratory summer fjord landscapes, usually peopled by young Norwegian girls, often in National costume. His narrow style and rejection of modernism earned him criticism and acclaim in equal measure. His most celebrated patron was Kaiser Wilhelm II who became a close friend and frequent visitor to Balestrand.
This collection is by direct family descent from the artist and comprises works by Hans Dahl and that of his son and protégé Hans Andreas Dahl, whose work was greatly inspired by his father, and whose blossoming career was cut short when an exhibition of his work housed in an ex-sanatorium caught fire. Much of his work was destroyed in the fire and Hans Andreas' vain attempts to rescue the paintings resulted in his own early death from smoke inhalation.