Dec. 3 Art Minute: Gustaf Fjaestad, Silence - Winter
A master of the winter scene, Gustaf Fjaestad painted the snowbound forests and countryside of Värmland in western Sweden, a region known for its winter storms. Fjaestad developed a process in which he coated his canvas with a light-sensitive substance onto which he projected photographs that he used as a guide for his paintings. Yet his images have an almost abstract quality to them as patterns are explored in almost obsessive detail. Silence - Winter presents an evocative scene of freshly made tracks leading under heavily snow-laden branches, the only hint of any activity in the blanketed forest.
Fjaestad was one of the leading Swedish painters at the turn of the 20th century; he was also a noted tapestry designer and cabinetmaker. Art, however, was something of a second career for him—he had been a champion ice skater who held the 1891 world record for the fastest English mile.
This work is currently on view in the exhibition Sights and Sounds: Art, Nature, and the Senses.