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Werner Holmberg: Forest in Rainy Weather, 1859

 

Forest in Rainy Weather signalled the final breakthrough for Werner Holmberg – but only less than two years before he died of consumption. For Holmberg, who had studied in Düsseldorf and worked for extensive periods in Germany, the painting earned him the reputation of being one of the most notable German landscape artists. The landscape was on exhibit in St Petersburg at the turn of 1859–60, and won Holmberg an appointment as a member of the St Petersburg Academy of Arts. The following year, the work was purchased for the Imperial Art Collection.

Forest in Rainy Weather is a prime example of how Holmberg produced his final paintings from sketches made in different places and countries. For example, the fallen trees on the left were sketched at Juhtimäki in Kuru in June 1857. The central motif, the strangely gnarled birch tree, featured prominently also in Holmberg’s previous large canvas, Autumn Morning in Ringerike (1859).