Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Jahn Ekenaes: Master Chronicler of Ordinary Life

 When I first saw the paintings by Jahn Ekenaes (1847-1920), I was drawn to his subjects because they reminded me so much of Caillbottte's "The Planers" which is a beautiful, detailed painting of men planing a wood floor. (As it happens, Ekenaes and Caillbotte were born within a year of each other.)

Ekenaes documented the every day world of the people living and working in his native Norway. He brought to his works the fine detail of their homes, work places and general activities. (RT: Women doing laundry)

Since he was fascinated with the the camera and photography, the degree of detail that he captured in his works might have been related to his many photographs. Even though color photography had its roots in the 1890s, it's probably a case where he took a black & white photograph and sketched or noted the colors for his paintings.

Whatever his techniques, he created a chronicle of daily life as he witnessed it in his world. (Left: This portrait of a child is to show Ekenaes' details in faces)

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