Peter Rostrup Boyesen

Man with a Red Book

Circa 1923

Oil on canvas


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Peter Rostrup Boyesen (Danish, 1882–1952).

This work is offered unframed.

A dramatic and psychologically penetrating figural oil of an elegantly dressed young man shown seated and holding a red book; an exceptionally fine, character-driven work by this well-listed and exhibited Danish Modernist.

Boyesen first studied at the Copenhagen Art academy (1896–1901) before attending Kristian Zahrtmann's art school, where he trained under Zahrtmann for four years (1901–1904). At the Charlottenborg spring exhibition in 1906, at his first year of showing, Bøyesen entered two paintings and was awarded the museum's purchase prize. From 1907, he exhibited frequently, both at the Charlottenborg and at Den Frie Udstilling, Denmark's oldest artist association. During this period, Boyesen was awarded numerous scholarships, including the prestigious Hielmstierne-Rosencrone, which he won a total of three times (1906, 1909, 1911); the Raben-Levetzau prize (1907) and, twice, the Academy Award (1912, 1924). The resulting financial support allowed him to travel frequently and freely throughout Europe, including to Paris (1912), where he was exposed to the ferment of developments in Modernist theory and, later, to Germany and Italy, where he made a study of the techniques of the Renaissance masters.

Recognized as a notable theorist of Modernism, Boyesen was appointed as teacher at the Copenhagen Art Academy in 1910 and served there until 1919. In 1920, increasingly dissatisfied with the limitations of a traditional academic environment, he established his own school and many aspiring artists, including Emil Nolde, came to study and absorb the avant-garde aesthetic principles that Boyesen advanced. In 1924, he was appointed to membership of the Academy Council, which he served with distinction until 1931. In addition to easel painting, both of figurative works and landscapes, he was also a sought-after fresco painter and muralist, executing important public installations and commissions that he painted in a Post-Impressionist derivation of Social Realism. Over the course of a long career, he continued to exhibit widely and with success, and was the recipient of numerous prizes, medals and juried awards. Peter Boyesen's work is held in the permanent collections of numerous public museums and he is listed in all relevant art reference works, including both Benezit and Thieme-Becker.

Height: 29.5 inches / 74.93 cm
Width: 25.5 inches / 64.77 cm
Depth: 0.75 inches / 1.91 cm

Inscribed 'P.B.' upper left; signed and titled on label verso

Condition Report

This work is in overall good condition.

Minor restoration and losses.

Minor craquelure to pigment layer.

Art Period
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