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PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Nils Dardel
SWEDISH
YOUNG MAN IN BLACK, GIRL IN WHITE
JUMP TO LOT
26

PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN PRIVATE COLLECTION

Nils Dardel
SWEDISH
YOUNG MAN IN BLACK, GIRL IN WHITE
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Paintings

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London

Nils Dardel
1888 - 1943
SWEDISH
YOUNG MAN IN BLACK, GIRL IN WHITE
signed and dated Dardel 1919 lower right
gouache and pen and ink on card
50 by 38cm., 19¾ by 15in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

We are grateful to Erik Näslund for his assistance in cataloguing this work.

Provenance

Halfdan Mustad, Lysaker, Norway (acquired at the Oslo exhibition in 1919. Mustad, 1871-1948, was a businessman and shipping magnate, being co-owner of the shipping firm O. Mustad & Søn); thence by descent to the present owners

Exhibited

Kristiania (Oslo), 1919
Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, 1919
Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, 1939
Stockholm, Moderna Museet & Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs: Nils Dardel, 1988, no. 112, pl. 23, illustrated in the catalogue (as Yngling i svart, flicka i vitt & Jeune homme en noir, jeune fille en blanc)

Literature

Karl Asplund, Nils Dardel, Stockholm, 1957, p. 191, illustrated
Ingemar Lindahl, Visit hos excentrisk herre, Stockholm, 1980, p. 87
Erik Näslund, Nils Dardel, Stockholm, 1988, pp. 142, 146, 150, 157 & 286

Catalogue Note

Painted at the height of Dardel's career, when the artist was enjoying considerable critical acclaim, Young Man in Black, Girl in White captures an intense moment in the artist's personal life. Dardel had fallen in love with Nita Wallenberg after the two met in Japan in 1917. A secret engagement followed, however Nita's father Gustaf, of the prominent Swedish Wallenberg banking dynasty, found the young bohemian Dardel to be an unsuitable match, and firmly put an end to their liaison and any hopes of marriage.

The bitter-sweet juxtaposition of the lovers, their backs turned while they stand perched precariously on a cliff, represents this final impasse in the couple's relationship in 1919. The emotions that rack their private thoughts are suggested in the tortured branches and jagged leaves of the tree behind them, their sorrow palpable at the time of their separation, while the boat to the left may refer to the couple's longed-for happiness sailing away from them. Alternatively, in a visual pun typical of Dardel's playful wit, the boat may refer to Nita Wallenberg's name: having been baptised Sassnitza, after the ferry-line which ran between Sweden and Germany, it was by the shortened name Nita that she was widely known.

Dardel evidently regarded the motif of the couple in the present work as an effective summary of his state of mind in 1919, using it again amidst the frolicking in The Pleasant Summer Sunday (fig. 1). At the same time, the present work's atmosphere of introspection and sorrow had also been powerfully evoked by Edvard Munch in The Separation (fig. 2), the Norwegian painter's example much-admired by the Swede Dardel.

After a short time at the School of Art in Stockholm, which he found too conservative, Dardel travelled for the first time to Paris in 1910. There he made contact with the Scandinavian artists who were pupils of Matisse and with them made his début in Stockholm in 1912 as a member of the Man of the Year 1909 group. In the present work, the flattened planes of the composition and linear execution of the figures are also informed by prints and woodcuts he had seen during his Japan trip in 1917, the raw passion of this work heightened by the finesse of execution.
 
During a trip to Paris by boat in 1919, the year this work was finished, Dardel met his future wife, the artist Thora Klinckowström, who was later portrayed by Modigliani.

19th Century European Paintings

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London