Lot 7
  • 7

Nils Dardel

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
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  • Nils Dardel
  • Gräshoppan (The Grasshopper)
  • signed and dated Dardel / 1931 lower right
  • oil on canvas
  • 73.5 by 60.5cm., 29 by 23¾in.


Helfrid Kempe
Maj Nordenskjöld; thence by descent (sale: Sotheby's, Stockholm, 28 May 1998, lot 64)
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Samlarnas utställning, 1937
Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Sveriges Allmänna Konstförening, Nils Dardel, 1955


Karl Asplund, Nils Dardel, Stockholm, 1958, p. 90, illustrated


The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd., of 13 & 14 Mason's Yard, London SW1Y 6BU: UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE Structural Condition The canvas is unlined on what would certainly appear to be the original wooden stretcher. There is a marked craquelure pattern which appears, at this point, to be stable but should be carefully observed as in some places the craquelure is quite raised. The craquelure is most noticeable in the sky. Paint Surface There are some very slight lines of paint separation which are again stable. These are most noticeable in the red pigments of the grasshopper's wings. No retouchings are identifiable under ultra-violet light. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in good and stable condition.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

With its vivid palette and dramatic composition, The Grasshoppper is suffused with the excitement of the new love affair which Dardel was then embarking on. Born aloft on the psychedelically-coloured grasshopper, the figure in eccentric dandy dress - a typical personification of Dardel himself - slides sinuously down to meet the reclining woman on the grass beneath him. Provocatively-posed, she meets his gaze with one eye.

As his relationship of eleven years with Thora Klinckowström finally broke down in 1930, Dardel met the twenty-five-year-old beauty and fellow Swede Edita Morris (née Toll). While remaining herself married to the American writer and journalist Ira Victor Morris, Edita and Dardel enjoyed a relationship which would last for the rest of the artist's life. Edita regularly accompanied the artist on his travels thereafter, and was the subject of a number of his portraits.

The present work forms a pendant with The Wedding Trip, also of 1931 and of the same dimensions (fig. 1). In The Wedding Trip the couple, representing Dardel and Morris, are united atop a camel which alludes to the artist's regular visits to Tunisia during the period. Young Woman with a Torch and a Burning Heart serves as a prelude to both works, symbolising the artist's passion being awoken by Edita as frantic crowds try to put out the fire. The dreamlike character of these scenes underlines the wish-fulfilment that the progression of the works represent: though his passion was certainly stirred as in Burning Heart, Edita's marriage kept her from being as wholly available to the artist as The Grasshopper would suggest, and the imagined wedding trip between Edita and Dardel never came to fruition. Dardel's love affairs inspired some of his most characteristic works and the playful scenes of 1931 serve as a counterpoint to other more macabre compositions of the later 1930s.

Finding the Stockholm School of Art too conservative and provincial for his taste, Dardel arrived in Paris in 1910. There he explored Cubism and was influenced by Pointillism. In 1912 he met the art dealer Wilhelm von Uhde who in turn introduced him to the leading Primitivist, Henri Rousseau (Le Douanier). Rousseau's brightly coloured, exotic, dreamlike paintings had a lasting effect on Dardel's work.