Carl Fredrik Hill, Swedish Visionary and Modernist: Drawings from the Malmö Art Museum is the first major exhibition in America devoted to Carl Fredrik Hill (1849-1911), one of the most important and original Swedish artists of the 19th century. The exhibition focuses on the series of astonishingly visionary and expressive drawings Hill produced during the last 30 years of his life, a period in which he was regarded as incurably insane. Although derided by his contemporaries, these late drawings are now recognized as important precursors of such movements as Surrealism, Expressionism, and even Pop Art. Many of today’s leading artists, including Georg Baselitz, Donald Baechler, Arnulf Rainer, and Per Kirkeby, have been influenced by Hill’s work.
The exhibition was organized by the Malmö Art Museum, one of the leading art museums of Scandinavia, and a major repository of the artist’s work. Its collection of some 32,000 objects includes over 2,000 works by Carl Fredrik Hill. The exhibition was curated by Göran Christenson, Director of the Malmö Art Museum.
Acclaimed in his youth as Sweden’s most gifted exponent of French Impressionism, Hill suffered a mental breakdown at the age of 28 from which he never recovered. During his long period of confinement, until his death at age 62, he drew obsessively, creating a parallel world inhabited by images drawn from nature, memory, art history, and his imaginative fantasy. By turns apocalyptic and lyrically poetic, the works on view represent the extraordinarily wide range of styles, techniques, and imagery that Hill explored during this time. Variously executed in chalk, crayon, and pen, they range from violently expressionistic scenes of the Scandinavian countryside and erotically charged nudes, to extraordinarily complex and precisely drawn interiors of fantastic temples and palaces, to haunting portraits of family and friends.