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The Girl in the Fjord, Hans Dahl - Description of the Painting



The Girl in the Fjord - Hans Dahl. Paper, watercolor and gouache. 46.5 x 31 cm


This work belongs to the brush of Hans Andreas Dahl, a gifted son of the Norwegian master Hans Dahl. As the only teacher of the novice painted was his talented father, most of the works by both artists are quite similar in style and the motifs used, and this fact often causes confusion in determining authorship of the particular canvas.

At first glance, the present painting could be created by his father, considering his specific motif used here, which is a girl dressed in a bright national costume against the background of the splendid Norwegian nature by the fjord. However, should we examine it a bit closed, we will be able to notice the difference in the creative manners of these two artists.

The work of the younger master is written on paper in watercolor, and this adds a very special appearance owing to the soft overflow of tones. Because of the peculiarities of the material used, the number of the tiny details is much less than on the paintings of his father, made in oil; however, this work is in no way inferior to them in terms of beauty and skill.

On the present painting a young girl is shown, dressed in a colorful national costume, standing with her back to us, and close to the edge of a steep slope of the fjord. There is a high cliff on her left hand, with almost vertical walls, which are in randomly overgrown with sparse, yet bright green plants. She is barefoot standing in velvety grass, which quite strangely grows on nearly bare rocks. The stones and the grass virtually shimmer with colors; this does not look motley, but pleases viewers with rich and dense colors, adding expressiveness and volume to the work.

The cold waters of the gulf well below with the rocks overtopping them, are shown on the right hand of the girl. They are presented using the bluish hues close to each other, that is the reason why one cannot say for sure where the water ends and the mountains begin; in turn, the rocks seem to dissolve in the blue sky, heavily covered with clouds of diverse size and density.

Same as in the works created by his father, the cold and worm colors are masterfully combined on the son's painting. However, the girl’s figure remains the center of the composition, and the brightest color spot. Her red clothes literally glow against the cold blue background of the sky, water, and mountains, perfectly blending with the lush greenery of the grass around her, as well as with the chocolate hues of the rocks.

The painting leaves a lyrical and pleasant feeling, making viewer think that it is him or her standing thoughtfully over a cold fjord, not an unknown Norwegian girl.
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