Nils Dardel
and the Modern Age
9 Oct 2015 – 17 Jan 2016

Opening the autumn season at Turku Art Museum, Nils Dardel and the Modern Age is the first major exhibition in Finland to showcase the art of Nils Dardel (1888–1943), one of Sweden’s most prestigious artists. What makes the show a particularly rare treat is that it includes Dardel’s most iconic works The Dying Dandy, Visit to an Eccentric Lady and Crime passionel. Most of the works on show belong to the extensive collection of Dardel’s art in Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, but there are also many works that are on loan from other major Swedish art museums and private collections.

Nils Dardel developed his personal style at a time when industrialisation, urbanisation and technological development were radically changing Europe. Social change was also reflected in the art world where several new movements emerged in the early part of the 20th century that would alter the Western perceptions of art and aesthetics. In 1910, after completing art studies in Sweden, Dardel made his first trip to Paris, where he became acquainted with avant-garde artists and intellectuals. Dardel never became a full-blooded modernist, however, although his oeuvre from the 1910s includes a brief cubist period.

Dardel matured artistically quite early, and by the beginning of the 1920s he had already found his style. Dardel’s years of success were between the end of the First World War and the Great Depression of the 1930s. His art contains features from surrealism, na´vism, as well as symbolism. Although his works elude classification in terms of form and content, their sumptuous palette, sinuous outlines and clear colour fields make them extraordinarily elegant and easily identifiable. Dardel was above all a storyteller, which made him an outsider looking in on the dominant art movements of his day. Unlike many of his fashionable colleagues, he never abandoned the figurative idiom. This does not imply that his art could be easily verbalised, however: Dardel’s peculiar world lies somewhere between dream and reality.

Produced by Moderna Museet, the exhibition was previously presented in Stockholm and Malm÷. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication illustrating Dardel’s life, personality and the European art scene during the first decades of the 20th century. The autumn season also includes interesting expert tours of the exhibition. Dardel’s fascinating world will be discussed (in Finnish) on 24 October by the curator Mia Haltia and on 7 November by the journalist Sami Sykk÷.

Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2019