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Eugène Jansson

 

Eugène Jansson's (1862–1915) landscapes depict real, recognizable urban scenes, but his work is far from naturalistic. Indeed, the feeling in his blue-toned landscapes has been described as ’supernatural’. His favourite subjects were Stockholm views near his home in Södermalm. At the end of his career he concentrated on figure painting.

Jansson was largely self-taught as a painter. He studied for a period at Edvard Perséus’s private school of painting and at the Royal Academy of Stockholm (1881–1882), but he lacked the means to go to Paris for further study. He led a somewhat reclusive life, partly owing to a hearing impairment and other health issues following an attack of scarlet fever as a child. Finding subjects for his paintings in Stockholm, he did not travel outside the Nordic countries until 1900, when his economic situation started to improve.

In 1891 he moved with his mother and brother to a house in the Södermalm district, with views over Riddarfjärden bay and central Stockholm. Here he produced a series of panoramas of the city at dusk and at dawn, dominated by shades of blue and imbued with a dreamy, visionary character. Jansson’s work received little acclaim in his own time, but nowadays he is considered one of the pioneers of twilight scenes.