It is not without reason, the Danish artist Wilhelm Freddie (1909-1995) is considered the enfant terrible of Scandinavian surrealism. The scandals involving police seizure of his surrealistic works of art and imprisonment for pornographic activity are well known. Freddie introduced the Danes to surrealism as early as 1930; he participated in the major exhibitions in Denmark and abroad: Copenhagen in 1935, London in 1936, New York in 1936 and Paris in 1938 and 1947.
Equally with his colleague Vilhelm Bjerke-Petersen, Freddie came into the spotlight of the Germans during their occupation of Denmark due to his art and had to flee to Sweden in 1944, where he remained until 1950. After the war, his style gradually moved away from the surreal, the shocking and the macabre, provocative towards a more material, almost carnal, expressive painting, but with a lasting interest in body and anatomy. Freddie was familiar with this particular subject area from an early age through his father's work at the Department of Pathology at the University of Copenhagen.
Freddie's artistic development is evident in the range of the works - from the late surrealist compositions from 1949 to a new and very sensual, almost raw feeling in the works "Nögne og tragiske kroppe" from 1957 and "Nordisk nat" from 1958. The painting "Kvinde, løve, hjul og bouilloner" from 1954 lies somewhere in between.
In the Danish art historian Jens Jørgen Thorsen's publication "Modernism in Danish painting", both "Nögne og tragiske kroppe" and "Nordisk nat" can be seen in a photograph from Freddie's exhibition at Kunstnernes Kunsthandel in Copenhagen in 1959. In his accompanying text, Thorsen describes the exhibition as; "the pictures flew around in the room and had a scent. Each work was named after its perfume".
See works by Wilhelm Freddie