In Front of Nature covers the full range of Fearnley’s paintings, from large dramatic canvases to oil sketches produced en plein air during his Europe-wide travels. The latter reveal an innovative artist, deeply committed to naturalism, and ripe for a major re-evaluation. The book also examines the artist’s British links both through his Yorkshire ancestors and as a result of his visit from 1836–8.
Five essays consider Fearnley’s career: Ernst Haverkamp discusses his Norwegian upbringing and early studies; David Jackson examines Fearnley’s contribution to the oil sketching tradition in Italy; Ann Sumner investigates the artist’s English work, including his Lake District sketches; Greg Smith focuses on the image of the artist in the landscape; and Kate Lowry adds a note on his painting technique. The volume illustrates 90 works by Fearnley and his contemporaries (many unpublished). These include major paintings from the Nasjonalmuseet (National Museum), Oslo, and from private collections in Norway, America and Britain.
Ann Sumner is currently Head of Cultural Engagement at the University of Leeds and was formerly director of The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham.
Greg Smith is an independent art historian and exhibition curator.
Ernst Haverkamp is Senior Curator, Department of Old Masters and Modern Art, National Museum of Art, Architecture
and Design, Oslo.
David Jackson is Professor of Russian and Scandinavian Art Histories, University of Leeds.
Kate Lowry is a freelance paintings conservator.