Jens Ferdinand Willumsen (1863-1958), A Mountain Climber, 1912
The mountains, light, and human beings (both as bodies and genders) are the mainstays of J.F.Willumsen’s vitalistic art. Nowhere are these themes addressed with the same power and conviction as in A Mountain Climber.
The modern woman
The woman, Willumsen’s second wife Edith Wessel (1875-1966), has brought herself to the top of the world, gazing out across the monumental Alpine landscape. As a depiction of the “new”, and in the Nietzschean sense ”great human being” in nature, one cannot imagine a more powerful expression of man’s command of and union with nature.
Kinship between J.F. Willumsen and Johannes V. Jensen
As a ruler of nature and the world, A Mountain Climber has a kinship with the Danish writer Johannes V. Jensen’s contemporary anti-metaphysical dependence on the worldly, the physical laws of nature, on the machine and all that it entails. With A Mountain Climber and Jensen’s series of novels The Long Journey (1908-22) as key works, Symbolism with its metaphysical longings and explorations of the innermost corners of the soul was replaced by a much more extrovert celebration of the body and a more vitalistic perception of life.
Among the beacons of Danish art, only few shine brighter or further than Willumsen. As a painter, sculptor, ceramist, and architect he had a talent and range like few others within the European art scene of his day.
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© J.F. Willumsen (1863-1958), A Mountain Climber, 1912.