Tirén, Johan

During the early 1880s , Johan Tirén (1853-1911) made himself known as a good subject for an artist with his brush aimed at the northern part of our country. He had been in Stockholm and belonged there to Edvard Perséus' circle of students. He painted landscapes, northern motifs with mountains and pine forests and, in between, romantic moods by Lake Mälaren. In 1880, Tirén won the royal medal at the Academy of Fine Arts for the prize subject "Loke imprisoned by the Asar". The following year, the artist sent a large canvas to the student exhibition, Jämtlandssägen, a variant of the motif with the Neck and the Fiddler. In Johan Tirén's presentation, the fiddler is a young man in Jämtland costume who, with violin and bow in hand, listens to Näcken's play deep down in the foaming rapids. The one who set the model for the youngster was Tirén's academic friend Anders Zorn. In the autumn of 1882, Johan Tirén received a scholarship which he used for travel, including with his good friend Bruno Liljefors, around Europe, but also for studies in Jämtland. Despite the long journeys to Germany, France and Italy, Tirén always returned to the northern landscapes in his canvases. He also painted mountain landscapes abroad, Liljefors painted animals. In 1884, Tirén insisted that the scholarship should also apply to travel within the country. However, this application was rejected and with this news in his luggage he returned home and settled with his new wife, the artist Gerda Tirén, in Oviken in Jämtland, in the middle of forests, lakes and mountains. Here the artist came to live more and more in the Sami's conditions and he took a clear stand for their cause in his art. You can say that Johan Tirén was a painting ethnologist, a storyteller and, figuratively speaking, a recorder of the Sami's daily life with all that it entailed of struggle and hardship.
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