Friday, January 23, 2015

Winter: an etching by Louis Graf Sparre

The aristocratic Swedish artist Count Pehr Louis Sparre, commonly referred to in German as Louis Graf Sparre (Graf meaning Count), was born in Gravellona Lomellina, Italy, in 1863. He was married to the Finnish artist Eva Mannerheim, and lived in Finland for nearly twenty years from 1889. Louis Sparre is regarded as one of the founders of Karelianism, alongside his close friend and colleague Akseli Gallen-Kallela. This shiveringly cold etching was created by Louis Sparre in 1904, and published in 1906 by the Gesellschaft für Vervielfältigende Kunst, Vienna, in Die Graphischen Kunste.

Louis Graf Sparre, Winter
Etching, 1904

Besides a long career as a painter and printmaker, Louis Sparre was a leading ceramicist, and directed the first Finnish feature film. If that wasn't enough, he also competed as an individual and team fencer at the 1912 summer Olympics. Louis Graf Sparre died in Stockholm in 1964, at the age of 101.


Jane Librizzi said...

What a life! This is a really fine work, too. Sparre makes the wavy reflections of buildings in water appear to move; that can't be easy or more artists would do it. I wonder if this landscape is characteristic of Sparr'e work? It reminds me of paintings by Frits Thaulow, although most notably Thaulow's Marble Stiarcase in Venice from 1903. A far cry from Scandinavia.

Neil said...

You can really feel the biting cold, in the water and in the air. This is the only work of Louis Sparre that I have seen, Jane, so I'm not sure how typical it is. A quick look at Google Images suggests he was quite varied, and painted quite a few nudes as well as landscapes.