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The Impressionist Master: Frits Thaulow

Updated: Mar 31

Norway 1847 – 1906

Johan Frederik " Frits " Thaulow was a Norwegian Impressionist painter, best known for his naturalistic depictions of landscape. He was born in Christiania, the son of a wealthy chemist, Harald Conrad Thaulow, and Nicoline Louise Munch. His artistic education was at the Academy of Art in Copenhagen and at the Baden School of Art in Karlsruhe.

Thaulow was one of the earliest artists to paint in Skagen in the north of Jutland, soon to become famous for its Skagen Painters. He arrived there in 1879 with his friend Christian Krohg. They arrived from Norway in Thaulow's little boat. Thaulow, who had specialized in marine painting, turned to Skagen's favorite subjects, the fishermen and the boats on the shore. After his stay in Skagen, Thaulow returned to Norway in 1880. He became one of the leading young figures in the Norwegian art scene, and helped establish the first National Art Exhibit,"The Autumn Exhibit" in 1882. Many of Thaulow's best-known Norwegian scenes are from Åsgårdstrand, which had become an important center for artists and painters dating from the 1880s.

In 1892, Thaulow relocated to France, where he resided the rest of his life. Although the urban landscapes of Paris didn't resonate with him, he found inspiration in the quaint charm of villages like Montreuil-sur-Mer, Dieppe. His painting "A village street in France" remains one of his signature works.

Thaulow's contributions to art did not go unrecognized; he was honored with prestigious awards, including the commander of the 2nd Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1905. His accolades spanned international borders, earning him the French Legion of Honor, the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus from Italy, and the Order of Nichan Iftikhar from Tunisia. His legacy is preserved through the 37 pieces housed at the National Gallery of Norway and notable exhibits at the Hermitage Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and Harvard University's Busch-Reisinger Museum.


Thaulow's masterful use of light and shadow and reflections on water inspired last week's mixed media oil pastel landscape lesson.


 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

© Serene Greene- Art Literacy Academy
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