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Stormy Seas off Bornholm. Oil on cardboard. 23.4 x 35 cm. Circa 1845–1850.
The painter and etcher, Vilhelm Kyhn, was one of the few artists of the Copenhagen School who lived long enough to experience and shape the artistic development of an entire century. After studying at the Copenhagen Academy he concentrated on landscape painting from around the mid-1840s, seeking and finding the motifs he needed during his journeys and summer sojourns on Bornholm, in Jutland and North Zealand. Endowed with a travel grant from the Copenhagen Academy, Kyhn travelled to Paris and Rome in 1850/51 to pursue his studies. He was represented at Academy exhibitions in Charlottenborg with astonishing regularity every year from 1843 to 1903.
This masterfully executed nature study stems from his early period. The work derives its vitality from the subtle chromatic contrast between the brown hues of the sheer rocks and the delicately nuanced greenish-grey and grey tones of the surf and the leaden cloudy sky. Kyhn captures the spray from the crashing waves with deft and accurate strokes of the brush and generates a maximum of visual precision and an unaffected feeling for nature with great economy of means.