Johan Christian Dahl
Norwegian, 1788-1857
Collected by a major museum
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Johan Christian Dahl is considered one of the most accomplished landscape painters and Romantic artists of his time. Dahl began his training in Norway as a decorative painter, and continued his studies at the Copenhagen Academy under artists Carl Adolf Lorentzen and Georg Haas. Dahl was perhaps most influenced by 17th-century Dutch landscape painters, particularly Jacob van Ruisdael, as well as Caspar David Friedrich, who was also a lifelong friend. He made many studies for larger works en plein air, but the final works would be the combined result of sketches and landscapes conjured from memory. His works were characteristically emotional and nocturnal, with light filtering through clouds or mist. The erupting volcano Vesuvius also appeared in many of his works, inspired by Dahl’s witness of the actual phenomenon at close range.

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