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Thorvald Hellesen

(Norway, 1888-1937)
Estimate
400 000 - 500 000 SEK
35 300 - 44 200 EUR
37 600 - 47 000 USD
Hammer price
1 300 000 SEK
Purchasing info
For condition report contact specialist
Amanda Wahrgren
Stockholm
Amanda Wahrgren
Specialist Modern Art, Prints
+46 (0)702 53 14 89
Thorvald Hellesen
(Norway, 1888-1937)

Composition

Signed T Hellesen. Executed in 1916. Canvas 54 x 70 cm.

Provenance

Thorvald Hellesen's collection.
Bukowski Auktioner AB, Stockholm, Modern Spring Auction 1987, cat. no 46.
Swedish private collection.

Exhibitions

Sven-Harrys konstmuseum, Stockholm, "Konst + Maskin – Utmanarna under 1920-talet", 1 April - 24 September 2023.

Literature

Sven-Harrys konstmuseum, Stockholm, "Konst + Maskin – Utmanarna under 1920-talet", 1 april - 24 september 2023, ill fullpage in colour p. 66.

More information

The Norwegian artist Thorvald Hellesen was a student of Christian Krohg at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo between 1910-11. Like many other Norwegian artists, he admired the expressive painting of Edvard Munch, which is evident in his early works. After being recognised as 'a new Munch' in Kristiania (Oslo), the 23-year-old Hellesen travelled to Paris in 1912 on a scholarship. The French capital was the art metropolis of the world, a magnet for artists from near and far. In the years leading up to the First World War, the city was characterised by grandiose splendour, cultivated taste and relaxed morals. In the artists' studios and cafés, the foundations were laid for the first avant-garde movements of the 20th century. In the art mecca, Hellesen later came into contact with the avant-garde circles around Picasso and Braque, and his painting developed in a cubist direction. Around 1915, Hellesen painted still lifes, mainly depicting musical instruments, and collages in which newspaper clippings and matchboxes are common. When he married the artist Helene Perdriat, he came into direct contact with the Cubists and became close friends with Fernand Lèger, whose paintings influenced him. Together with Lèger, Hellesen returned to Oslo in 1919 to participate in the 'Théâtre Moderne' exhibition 'Lèger and the Modern Spirit'. "Colour orgies (...) thrown against the wall" was one of many negative descriptions published in connection with the exhibition and Hellesen never exhibited in his home country again and was later forgotten at home. Around 1920, Hellesen became friends with Leonce Rosenberg, art collector and owner of l'Effort Moderne Gallery in Paris, where he was allowed to exhibit. From 1920-25, he was a regular participant in the 'Salon des Indépendants' and was recognised by artists such as Amadée Ozenfant, Maurice Raynal and Theo van Doesburg. "Of all the Cubists, Hellesen is one of the most interesting, especially since he seems to have achieved a clear aesthetic in which colour and form interact in a systematic way", wrote Ozenfant. 41 years after his death, Hellesen was rediscovered at home and some of his paintings were bought by the National Gallery in Oslo. This year, in 2023, the National Gallery in Oslo presented a major retrospective exhibition of around 70 works by Hellesen entitled 'Thorvald Hellesen - Kubistisk pioner”'.

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