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  Elof Wedin. “Untitled Landscape,” c. 1944.
Elof Wedin, Untitled
An Impressive 20th-Century Landscape
in the Style of Cézanne

Elof Wedin. “Untitled Landscape,” c. 1944. Oil on canvas. Stretcher size: 24 x 30". Frame size: 31 /12 x 37 1/2". Signed at l. l.: Wedin. Fine, in hard-carved custom molding.

This exceptional painting by the Minnesota artist Elof Wedin, although undated, is likely from the 1940s, the decade in which the Wedin’s work was largely influenced by the post-impressionist style of Paul Cézanne. Wedin has here employed an inventive adaptation of Cézanne’s compositional structure and modeling of the forms of nature to portray a lovely panorama of mountain highlands with horses grazing in the foreground. True to Cézanne’s philosophy regarding the integrity of the two-dimensional surface, Wedin has flattened out the mountains, hills, trees, buildings, hills, and animals, knitting the forms together with short, consistent brushstrokes to create an all-over mosaic of color. The effect of richly blended colors calls to mind a tapestry of jewel tones.

By the time of his death in 1983, Wedin, an accomplished painter of portraits and landscapes, was widely regarded as one of the most important twentieth-century Minnesota artists. He was born in Sweden in 1901, immigrated to Minneapolis in 1919, and began a career as a professional artist in 1926 after studying at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. His reputation largely rests on the landscapes he painted while traveling extensively in Sweden, Norway, and Colorado. In his later years, his style tended toward abstraction as he experimented with free-form textures in pastels.

The painting offered here is a fine example from Wedin’s “Cézanne” period, distinctive in size and palette and framed in a uniquely carved custom molding.

Ref.: “Elof Wedin, 1901–1983” at Swedish American Artist Gallery.

Copyright 2003, William R. Talbot