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Ferdinand von Wright: Interior of the Marieberg Workshop, 1850-1852



The Ateneum has been donated an important painting by Ferdinand von Wright (1822-1906).  It is an interior showing Ferdinand’s brother Wilhelm’s workshop at the latter’s house (called Marieberg after Wilhelm’s wife Maria) on the island of Orust in Bohuslän on the west coast of Sweden. Wilhelm (1810-1887) produced zoological illustrations there and since 1835 had been working on a comprehensive book on Scandinavian fish (Scandinaviens fiskar). Wilhelm also used the workshop for carpentry, bird taxidermy, drawing, and both repairing and making weaponry.

Ferdinand lived in the workshop while visiting Wilhelm in 1850-52. It was thanks to him that Wilhelm began to paint in oils again, having been the first of the three von Wright brothers to use the medium. Ferdinand, in turn, learnt a lot from Wilhelm, as demonstrated in this painting of Wilhelm and his father-in-law Olof Bildt. The work displays what would be key features of Ferdinand’s future work, such as narrative, fine draughtsmanship, and great skill in rendering materials.