Harald SohlbergHarald Sohlberg was a Norwegian painter who was central to the breakthrough of neo-romanticism in Norway. He was born in Oslo and had a very distinctive style where he placed great emphasis on drawing and details, while at the same time the pictures were not pure imitations of nature. Sohlberg sought to express his experiences of nature and adapted drawing and colors so that the pictures could convey these experiences. The symmetrical composition he used in many of the pictures helps to bring in a supernatural, almost religious atmosphere.
Sohlberg began his artistic education at the Royal School of Arts and Crafts in 1885, where he was a student up to and including the autumn of 1890. He also had a stay in Slagen by Åsgårdsstrand in 1890, where he was a student of Sven Jørgensen. He then studied under Kristian Zahrtmann in Copenhagen in 1891–1892 and drew for four months at Eilif Peterssen's and Harriet Backer's painting school in 1894.
Sohlberg traveled to Valdres to paint in the summer of 1889, and there he painted a study called Summer evening, a picture with broad brushstrokes and violet tones that emphasize the evening mood. The picture links to the summer night pictures that Kitty Kielland and Eilif Peterssen had painted by Dælivannet in 1886, and shows the interest in conveying the mood of nature which was to become Sohlberg's main interest in the following years.
In 1894, Sohlberg made his debut at the Statens Kunstutstilling (Autumn Exhibition) with the picture Nattegloð (1893), which was to be his artistic breakthrough and was purchased for the National Gallery. The picture has many of the distinctive features and qualities that were to become a hallmark of Sohlberg's art. In 1899, Sohlberg painted Sommernatt, a picture from Nordstrand with a view over the Oslofjord. Sohlberg has sought here to capture the special atmosphere of the Norwegian summer night, and he stylizes the landscape in clean surfaces and clear lines.
Sohlberg is particularly known for atmospheric images such as Summer Night, the cemetery image Night, Flower meadow north, and not least Winter Night in Rondane. He had a significant influence on Norwegian art in the first half of the 20th century, and his style and motifs have inspired many later Norwegian artists.