[ Home: Virtual Museum: Individual Artists: Carl Fredrik Hill ]

No Photo Available Carl Fredrik Hill was born in 1849 in Lund, southern Sweden. His father was a brilliant mathematician and a professor at Lund University. as a child Hill was studious and intelligent and showed a particular interest in landscape drawing. In 1871 after studying aesthetics for a year at Lund University, he entered the Stockholm Academy. During his two years there he acquired a great technical ability but also a dissatisfaction with academic theory.

On meeting fellow countrymen who had visited Paris, Hill learned of the latest developments in French art. In 1873 he went to France to see for himself. The following summer, at the village of Barbizon, near Paris, he saw landscape painting by Charles Daubigny, Narcisse Diaz de la Pena, Theodore Rousseau, Corot, and Courbet, in which he found the rich colors and the lively brushwork that he sought. He also admired the Impressionists, but his use of color, always closely linked with his emotions, was far more intense than theirs.

For some time his landscape style, though individual in feeling, was very like that of Corot. He had a painting accepted at the Paris Salon of 1875. However, by 1876 he had adopted a lighter, airy, "unfinished" style and his entry was refused by the Salon. By the next year his painting was calmer still, tending toward a classical composition based on strong verticals and horizontals. Dark foregrounds were contrasted with pale distances. Echoes of Corot were again apparent.

Hill's work had been noticed in 1876 by some of the Impressionists, who invited him to exhibit with them at their third group show in 1877. But that year he suffered his first mental crisis. In January, 1878, he was placed in an asylum in Paris, where he stayed until he was sent home to Lund in 1880.

He remained in Lund, cared for by his mother and sisters, until his death in 1911. His quiet, withdrawn existence there was broken only occasionally by a journey to Stockholm to see an exhibition or play. The ink and crayon drawings that flowed steadily from his hand throughout these 30 years were based partly on life, partly on imagination. They possess a concentrated, visionary quality, lapsing from time to time into incoherence. Hill's varied subjects and styles over this period seem to have anticipated many modern movements and artists unknown to him, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso among them.

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