Bruno Liljefors

Sweden / 1860 - 1939 / wikipedia
Bruno Andreas Liljefors (14 May 1860-18 Dec. 1939); Swedish artist, the most important and probably most influential wildlife painter of the late 19th and early 20th century. He also drew some sequential picture stories, making him one of the early Swedish comic creators. He was brother of the composer and conductor Ruben Liljefors.

Liljefors is held in high esteem by painters of wildlife and is acknowledged as an influence, for example, by American wildlife artist Michael Coleman. All his life Liljefors was a hunter, and he often painted predator-prey action, the hunts engaged between fox and hare, sea eagle and eider, and goshawk and black grouse serving as prime examples. However, he never exaggerated the ferocity of the predator or the pathos of the prey, and his pictures are devoid of sentimentality.

The influence of the Impressionists can be seen in his attention to the effects of environment and light, and later that of Art Nouveau in his Mallards, Evening of 1901, in which the pattern of the low sunlight on the water looks like leopardskin, hence the Swedish nickname Panterfällen. Bruno was fascinated by the patterns to be found in nature, and he often made art out of the camouflage patterns of animals and birds. He particularly loved painting capercaillies against woodland, and his most successful painting of this subject is the largescale Capercaillie Lek, 1888, in which he captures the atmosphere of the forest at dawn. He was also influenced by Japanese art, for example in his Goldfinches of the late 1880s.

During the last years of the 19th century, a brooding element entered his work, perhaps the result of turmoil in his private life, as he left his wife, Anna, and took up with her younger sister, Signe, and was often short of money. This darker quality in his paintings gradually began to attract interest and he had paintings exhibited at the Paris Salon.

...The greatness of Liljefors lay in his...
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Suzan Hamer


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