22 June 2023
The Norwegian artist Jakob Weidemann (1923–2001) was one of the most influential pioneers of abstract painting in the post-war period and played a central role in its breakthrough in Norway
Three specific episodes in Jakob Weidemann’s life shaped his distinctive style. In 1944, Weidemann escaped to Sweden and joined the Norwegian resistance forces. While there, he was caught in an explosion that robbed him of the sight in his right eye and for three months thereafter he was only able to perceive light. This created a special relationship with colour, light and the natural world – a dreamlike relationship that naturalism was unable to satisfy. The second experience was during one of his many walks in the forests when he discovered the great diversity and play of colour in the forest vegetation. The third occasion was when he was struck by the intensity of the flower-filled meadows at Ringsveen farm, where Weidemann lived from 1968 to 2001.
After experimentation with different styles in the 1940s and 1950s, he settled into what can be called an expressive, lyrically abstract style of art that drew inspiration from the natural world. In the mid 1960s, Weidemann’s work moved into a new phase. It was no longer the colours and dark moods of autumn that inspired him, but instead the rich displays of spring and early summer flowers.
Issue date 14 June