SEPTEMBER 21 - OCTOBER 28 2018
THE LOST PARADISE
Only few visual artists from Northern Jutland have become famous, and possibly even legendary. Christjern Schobius from Aalborg is one of the few. He was born in 1872 and after three years of apprenticeship with his father, who was a master painter, Schobius moved to Copenhagen where he was accepted into The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, and their improvement class, in October 1892. However, a year later, in April 1895, he left the Academy in favor of an art study at Zahrtmann’s school.
During the second half of the 1890’s, Christjern Schobius lived primarily in Aalborg where he painted town and landscape motifs, which were strongly influenced by notions of the contemporary realism and colorist painting traditions. In only a few years, he created distinctive and different works. In his street paintings such as “Markedsscene” (Market scene) and “Fader kommer hjem” (Father comes home) Schobius utilizes an almost naivistic caricature-like style. His sense of light is visible in “Kostald” (Cowshed) and “Husgavl. Raffels gård, Vesteraa” (Gable. Raffel’s yard, Vesteraa).
In 1900, Christjern Schobius’ grand and infamous painting “Det Fortabte Paradis” (The Lost Paradise) was featured in the Spring exhibition at Charlottenborg. The work portrays a young couple in a miserable farmhand’s room; the rendering combines social engagement with a fine sense visual art. The painting caused controversy due to its bold realism with which Schobius depicted nakedness, poverty and despair.
The critic Sophus Michaelis cut down the “big, vile, hopeless canvas” and called the motif “coarse and unrefined peasant rhetoric”. He was critical of the “hideous interior of fecal yellow and green colors, which renders a recently mucked out stable” and regarding “the crass effect, although it is merely disgust”. Sophus Michaelis ends his review with an expression of hope that Schobius will “find a better application of his paintbrush rather than this production of pictorial emetic”.
Christjern Schobius came to read the review before a tramcar ran him over and killed him on June 7, 1900, in Copenhagen. Only 27 years old. Thereby, one can add him to the particular group of artists who died at the age of 27, because of murder, suicide or a tough life. The exclusive “club” counts the musicians Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, the writers Michael Strunge and Georg Trakl, as well as the painter Michel Basquiat, but the list also includes a promising, however often forgotten, visual artist from Aalborg.
A special thanks to KUNSTEN, Museum of Modern Art Aalborg for lending of the works.
See or download the exhibition catalogue here.