J.C. Dahl. The Power of Nature

J.C. Dahl (1788–1857) was Norway’s first painter of international stature. The exhibition "The Power of Nature" is the largest presentation of Dahl in 30 years and displays a selection of 200 masterpieces.

The exhibition “J.C. Dahl – The Power of Nature” shows Dahl’s development as a landscape painter through an extensive selection of paintings and drawings. The exhibition encompasses 200 masterpieces, extensive loans and a comprehensive publication.

Defined the Image of Norway
Johan Christian Clausen Dahl (1788–1857) is one of the most outstanding painters in the history of Norwegian art. He was also one of Europe’s most significant Romantic painters. An artisan painter who came from modest means in Bergen, he lived to become a professor at the art academy in Dresden and was eventually recognised as the father of Norwegian painting.

Dahl’s artistic career is the story of how the untamed nature of Norway found its expression in art. His motifs allowed foreigners as well as Norwegians to become familiar with a landscape that was previously unknown to them. It was now possible to admire nature – rather than fear it. With his romanticist approach and strong feelings of national identity Dahl fostered a whole new understanding of the distinctive, stunning and powerful character of the untamed Norwegian nature. In this way Dahl defined the very image of Norway.

From Romanticism to Solemnity
In addition to contributing to establishing a national identity, Dahl’s pictures have since his time become increasingly significant for the tourism industry, which depends to a great degree on the romantic image of Norwegian nature. Dahl’s paintings inspire us to reflect on our relationship to nature, on the values it represents, and on its beauty and vulnerability. He depicted the power of nature – both in its essence and in the way it moves us.

The exhibition will be built around various themes that are linked to Dahl’s entire career. His journey to Italy and his travels around Norway – among other places Telemark, Hardangervidda, Voss and Sogn – will be important references in the depictions of natural phenomena and stunning panoramas. Waterfalls and glaciers, volcano eruptions and shipwrecks, moonlight scenes, narrow fjords and untamed mountain plateaus are all motifs depicted in Dahl’s paintings.

Considerable Loans
KODE owns the largest collection of Dahl’s paintings, drawings and sketches, which were donated by the artist himself and by his son Siegwald. From the museum’s collection you will see famous paintings such as Birch Tree in a Storm and Bergen’s Våg. The exhibition is supplemented by works on loan, such as the painting of Bergen’s Våg, which Crown Prince Oscar received as a gift from Dahl in 1834, today included in the collection of Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden.

Other loans are from The National Museum, Oslo, the National Gallery of Denmark, Thorvaldsen’s Museum, and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen, Kunsthaus Zürich, Lillehammer Art Museum, Hydro Norway Art Collection, the Grieg Collection in Bergen, and private collections.

Comprehensive Publication
A Comprehensive publication will accompany the exhibition. The catalogue “J.C. Dahl – The Power of Nature” offers a new perspective on Dahl’s art. This is the first large publication devoted to the artist in many years.

Daily tours in the exhibition on English in June, July and August.

We offer guided tours in selected exhibitions five times a day, every day in June, July and August. All tours in English. See program here

  • 4 May 2018 to 7 Oct 2018
  • Kode 2
  • 120/0 *

* Adults: NOK 120, Students: NOK 60, Free admission with Bergen Card and for children under 16 years old. The ticket gives admission to all exhibitions at KODE for two days