JANUS LA COUR
Thimagard 1837 — 1909 ?
Rocky Outcrop by a Forest
oil on linen. 22.5 x 36.5 cm. monogrammed JIC, dated and sited by the artist l/r: Rosenlaui 22 Juni 1868 IlC.
This close-up plein air study offers an unusual perspective from ground level. We see an aged, weathered and knarled trunk of a tree that broke off years before, the underside of pine needles and coniferous branches. We look into a mound of rock partially covered with enough earth in places to allow some growth of grass. Though unfortuntely, La Cour's pigments have darkened, even when not well lit, one sees quite distinctly the illustrative brushstrokes that reveal textured bark, needles and leaves, the artist's creative restraint in utilizing the unadorned ground of the canvas by leaving it blank. The descriptive nature of the subject matter is complete despite or perhaps due to the simplicity of technique.
Initially studying in Aarhus, La Cour discovered the work of Hoegh-Guldberg and his assistant Christen Kobke. He moved to Copenhagen is 1853 studying privately with Marstrand and from 1856 with P.C. Skovgaard who was to have a significant influence on La Cour's work and also become a close friend. Janus attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Art from 1857- 1864.
La Cour visited Paris and Rome several times and also traveled to Switzerand. This intriguing study was painted in Switzerland, in the mountains south of both Lucern and Bern, roughly equidistant between the cities. The artist was then about 31.
Janus La Cour became one of the leading Danish landscapists, was made professor of the Academie in 1888 and named chevalier de Danebrog in 1892. He exhibited his work in Paris in 1900. His paintings can be found in the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen firstly and in major museum collections in Europe and the US. The Metropolitan Museum acquired two of his watercolor landscapes in 2014.