press release

A major survey of nearly 200 years of Nordic art, featuring many works never seen before in the US, will be presented by The Phillips Collection this fall. The exhibition, Nordic Impressions: Art from Åland, Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, 1821-2018, includes works by 53 artists, spanning paintings to video installations. The exhibition will be on view October 13, 2018 through January 13, 2019.

Nordic Impressions pays tribute to the artistic excellence of 19th and 20th century Nordic painters, such as Edvard Munch, Akseli Gallen-Kallela, Vilhelm Hammershøi, Anders Zorn, and Jóhannes Sveinsson Kjarval. Celebrating the considerable artistic diversity in Nordic art, the broad spectrum of works feature both the expected (sublime landscapes and melancholic portraits) and the unexpected (abstract and conceptual art). Prominent contemporary artists include Katrín Sigurdardóttir, Ragnar Kjartansson, and Olafur Eliasson from Iceland; Israeli-born Danish painter Tal R; Norwegian performance and video artist Tori Wrånes; Swedish painter Mamma Andersson; and Sámi artists Outi Pieski and Britta Marakatt-Labba.

“We are thrilled to showcase the art of the Nordic countries. It has been very satisfying to have worked over the past few years with the embassies that are our neighbors here in Washington, DC and with our many colleagues who have such rich expertise,” said Dorothy Kosinski, Vradenburg Director and CEO of The Phillips Collection.

Never before studied so extensively, the works are made by artists across generations, come from locations throughout the Nordic regions, sample a spectrum of media, and feature many women artists, such as Danish painters Anna Ancher and Franciska Clausen; Swedish painter Fanny Brate; Greenlandic painter, photographer, and writer Pia Arke; Finnish painters Helene Schjerfbeck and Greta Hällfors-Sipilä; Norwegian artists Oda Krohg and Tori Wrånes; and Hrafnhildur Arnardόttir, also known as Shoplifter, who will be representing Iceland in the 2019 Venice Biennale.

Duncan Phillips believed in the continuity of art across time and the rich themes and practices apparent in these artworks, spanning nearly 200 years, would have fascinated him. “This show is a culmination of my impressions from the works I saw after traveling throughout the Nordic regions,” said Klaus Ottmann, Deputy Director for Curatorial and Academic Affairs at the Phillips. “My selection of works and artists is personal—much like how Duncan Phillips acquired works for his collection. I was in awe that each of them have something so different to offer artistically, but that they are tied together by themes that have held a special place in Nordic culture for centuries: light and darkness, inwardness, the coalescence of nature and folklore, women’s rights and social liberalism. But these are now paired with more current subjects such as climate change, sustainability, and immigration.”

The Phillips Collection is the only museum where this exhibition will be on view. A contemporary-only version of the exhibition, Northern Exposure: Contemporary Nordic Arts Revealed, is on view at the Nordic Museum in Seattle through September 16, 2018.

Nordic Cultural Initiative
The exhibition is the culmination of a multi-year Nordic Cultural Initiative, a collaboration between The Phillips Collection and the Washington, DC-based embassies of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, launched in 2014 to promote the wealth of Nordic artistic talent.

Exhibition credits
The exhibition is organized by The Phillips Collection. With generous support from the Marion F. Goldin Charitable Fund, Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, and the scan|design foundation In-kind support is provided by Farrow & Ball.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a major publication, with a lead essay by Dr. Ottmann and contributions from five scholars of Nordic art: Dorthe Aagesen, chief curator and senior researcher, SMK Copenhagen; Kasper Monrad, chief curator and senior researcher, SMK Copenhagen; Riitta Ojanperä, director of collections management, Finnish National Gallery; Nils Ohlsen, director of old masters and modern art, The National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design; and Carl-Johan Olsson, curator, 19th century painting, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.