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Showing posts from September, 2016

Copenhagen's Painter

A Fire on Kultorvet, 1900




Born in Copenhagen on July 22, 1860, Paul Gustav Fischer was a Danish Naturalist painter. Fischer has a palette and tone that is more British than many of his fellow countrymen, although his depiction of everyday life in pure Naturalist form is definitely Danish. His work has an atmosphere, a narrative that asks questions more than it illustrates—in short, he conveys presence.

I love A Fire on Kultorvet above. Look at how we are placed right in the middle of the action, without explanation, as if happening right in front of us. This painting works on so many levels: historically, compositionally, atmospherically, and of course visually in terms of palette and texture. Off to the right a firefighter feeds coal into a steam-powered fire engine, a complex and very heavy machine...revolutionary for its time. Note off to the far left a firefighter operates what was back then a modern invention, the fire hydrant. The huge crowd watching is conveyed brilliantly wit…