Private collection, United Kingdom
Gottfried Kallstenius was born in 1861. His brother was a well-known zoologist, Evald Kallstenius, and was the cousin of philologist Gottfrid Kallstenius. He began studies in medicine and humanities, but discontinued this after three years in order to educate himself as an artist. He studied at Edvard Perseus’ private painting school and the Swedish Royal Academy, as well as in Italy.
At the beginning of his artistic career, Kallstenius painted in a realist style, and chose socio-political messages to dictate his subject matter. Later on, however, he became influenced by the Impressionists, and other turn of the century greats such as Van Gogh. He also looked to the Swedish romantics for his subject matter. This led him to paint the stylised, Impressionistic landscapes and sunsets that he became famous for in Sweden and the rest of Europe, and of which Lake at Sunset is a magnificent example. Many recognize his romantic embossed sunflower paintings with sunlit pines, rocks and still water. In 1887 he received the Duchy Medal for the painting September and the following year the royal medal for Cemetery in Summer Sun. He began teaching at the Academy of Sciences in the early 1903 century and was head professor from 1912 to 1934.
Kallstenius was also very interested in the technical and theoretical problems of painting, and published the manuals, Oil Painting, Dyes and Binders in 1913 and The Oil Painting Handbook, in 1915. He also wrote poems and fiction (1917) and Art, its Essence and Significance (1931). He was also the initiator and recurring inspector of Becker’s normal colour series, a way of monitoring paint quality, which began in 1912 with the aim of providing artists with reliable and durable pigments.
Kallstenius was married to Gerda Roosval-Kallstenius, who was also a very accomplished painter. Together they had one son, Evald Kallstenius, although he didn’t enjoy quite the same success as his parents had. In 1906, the family had a magnificent villa (Villa Kallstenius) built on Krokvägen in Storängen, Nacka, designed by acclaimed Swedish architect Gustaf Petterson. Gottfried lived his life out happily there, and the house still stands today.
This wonderful sunset painting is a charming and evocative rendition of an idyllic summer evening on a Swedish lake. It would make a lovely addition to any collection of Impressionist, Swedish Romantic or Landscape paintings. Kallstenius is now represented at the National Museum in Stockholm, at the art museums in Gothenburg and Malmö and in a number of museum collections in Europe, South and North America.