May I Introduce Odd Nerdrum?

1 May 2011

Summit by Odd Nerdrum, oil painting, 2000, 93 x 88.
Summit by Odd Nerdrum, oil painting, 2000, 93 x 88.
Odd Nerdrum: Weekend With the Masters Instructor

Odd Nerdrum was born in Hälsingborg, Sweden, in 1944. He was a student at The Academy of Art in Oslo at the time when Modernism made its delayed entry to Norway. During a study trip to Stockholm organized by the academy, he broke away from the group of students who had gathered around the works of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein in The Museum of Modern Art. Nerdrum headed off to the Rembrandt Hall in The National Museum and was standing spellbound in front of The Conspiracy of Claudius Civilis.

This moment became a turning point in his life, and he decided to learn painting in the manner of Rembrandt. The decision immediately brought him into aesthetic conflict with the students and professors of the academy. None of them mastered the old techniques nor saw the merit in such, and all of them thought his efforts were reactionary and obnoxious.

He left the academy and started to study the Old Masters. Nerdrum felt a particular affinity to Caravaggio as well as Rembrandt. Caravaggio, because of the realism and implacable, dramatic temperament reflected in his works, and Rembrandt for his picturesque substance and patience with man. The two extremes would later shape the elasticity in the universe of Nerdrum's pictures.

Odd Nerdrum has an extensive knowledge of Western art history and an in-depth schooling in philosophy of the ages. He is obsessive about his work, his ideas, and his politics. All of which have greatly affected younger painters worldwide.

His work may be viewed at the Metropolitan Museum in New York; the San Diego Museum in San Diego, California; the Walker Art Museum, Minneapolis; the Milwaukee Museum of Art, Milwaukee; and the Gothenburg Museum in Gothenburg, Sweden; as well as the National Gallery in Oslo, Norway. For more information on Nerdrum, visit The Nerdrum Institute website.

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