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Georg Vilhelm Pauli

(1855 - 1935)

A painter of landscape, portraits and murals, and a prolific author, Georg Pauli was born in Jönköping, a city between Malmö and Stockholm in 1855. He enrolled at the Royal Academy of Arts in Stockholm 1871-75 and again in 1878-79, he was a contemporary of Julia Beck (1853-1935) at the Academy and their paths were to cross again in Grez-sur-Loing some years later.

Pauli was a member of the group of artists that included Anders Leonard Zorn (1860-1920), who styled themselves the ‘Opponenterna’, The Opponents, who opposed the staid conservatism of the Academy, they founded ‘The League of Artists’ to represent modern Scandinavian art in a European context. Pauli along with a number of other Scandinavian artists moved to Paris in the late 1870’s and 80’s, and settled in and visited Grez-sur-Loing, southwest of Paris, a village painted by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796-1875) and close to Barbizon where an older generation had painted. Among others the colony included Carl Larsson (1853-1919) and his wife Karin Bergöö (1859-1928), who he met there, August Strindberg (1849-1912), Bruno Liljefors (1860-1939), Julia Beck, Peder Krøyer (1851-1909), Pauli and his future wife Hanna Hirsch (1864-1940); American artists included John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) and Robert Vonnoh (1858-1933).

Pauli attended the Académie Julian in Paris in the late 1870’s and became a great admirer of Naturalism, the leading proponent being Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884); his paintings “Les Foins” of 1877 (Musée d’Orsay) and “October” 1878, (National Gallery of Victoria) were to prove hugely influential. The art critic Roger Fry wrote of him, and in relation to his influence on Impressionism and Claude Monet, ‘Bastien Lepage, who cleverly compromised between the truth and accepted convention of what things looked like... which a single walk in the country … would establish beyond doubt’. These two works together with the work of Léon Augustin Lhermitte (1844-1925), a fellow painter of Naturalism were the inspiration for Pauli’s “La collation des Paysans a la recolte du Colza, Calvados”, widely acknowledged as the artist’s masterpiece and exhibited at the Paris Salon 1885 receiving an honourable mention. Pauli went on to exhibit at the Salon in 1889 and 1900. Pauli married the artist Hannah Hirsch, who lived in Grez-sur-Loing and Paris, in 1887 following which they travelled to Italy. Here Pauli was much taken with Fresco painting and for which he was to become renowned in his native Sweden. He received numerous private and public commissions, and his work can be seen in Gothenburg City Museum, formerly the East India Company headquarters, Stockholm City Hall and the Royal Theatre among other public buildings. Pauli was also a prolific author, writing on art and ‘The Opponents’. Pauli returned to Paris in 1911 and worked with André Lhote (1885-1962) developing an interest in Cubism, and was later to teach, as did Carl Larsson, at the Valand Academy in Gothenburg.

His works can be found in museums in: Gothenburg; Helsinki, National Gallery of Finland; Stockholm, National Gallery and Uppsala.