Harald Leth

Harald Leth (1899-1986) was a Danish artist who is known for his landscape paintings and coloristic abilities.

Harald Leth

Harald Leth (1899-1986) was a Danish artist who is known for his landscape paintings and coloristic abilities. He was born on January 5, 1899, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Leth's interest in art began at a young age, and he enrolled at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen in 1918.

Leth's work was heavily influenced by the Fynboerne artist group and Karl Isakson's use of color. In 1921, he stayed with Johannes Larsen and became aware of Isakson's work with color. Bornholm became Leth's preferred place to work during the summers from 1923 until World War II. Oluf Høst, an artist who shared Leth's appreciation of nature and its colors, became an important influence on his development.

Leth made several trips with Høst, including to Paris in 1925, where he was particularly taken with Paul Cézanne's reproductions of the mountain Mont Ste. Victoire. In the 1930s, he painted landscapes with cows or horses in which movement and rhythm were emphasized. The color scale was more subdued than in his Bornholm pictures.

In 1934, Leth became a member of the Autumn Exhibition, where he exhibited until 1943. After that, he devoted himself to his work as an art writer. His important article on Larsen Stevns' coloristic principles appeared in the first issue of Aarstiderne, which he enriched over time with articles on past and present artists.

In 1944, Leth moved to Asminderød Mark, which was a landmark in his painting. He had a breakthrough in 1948, which was not generally recognized until the exhibition at the Kunstforeningen in 1953. His coloristic abilities unfolded in the interpretation of the close, such as the view from his house at sunset or under the starry night sky. Other motifs included bathing women, forest workers with horse-drawn carts, landscapes from Salling and Thy, and constellations.

Leth's transition to the small brushstrokes and the small picture format made it possible for him to work over the entire picture surface at once, so that color and composition became a rhythmic whole. Leth found his place at the March Exhibition and can be seen as an exponent of the Danish landscape tradition from Christen Købke to the Funeners and Edvard Weie.

Harald Leth died on March 14, 1986, in Ålsgårde, Denmark, at the age of 87. Today, his work is represented in several museums in Denmark, including the National Gallery of Denmark and the Bornholm Art Museum.