Vilhelm Lundstrøm (1893-1950), Two Female Nudes,1927
In 1923 Lundstrøm moved to the town of Cagnes-sur-Mer in the south of France and began to paint pictures in a stringent classicistic vein that would be his signature style in the two decades that followed.
Overwhelming by virtue of its size alone, Two Female Nudes is a powerful example of Lundstrøm’s style in the 1920s. Two female half-length nudes – which can be perceived as the front and back of the same model – have been placed against each other so that they fill the entire picture plane.
The painting's composition
The composition is simple and monumental. The shapes have been reduced to the barest minimum, rendered by means of a highly restricted palette of brownish-yellow hues against a blue background. The simplification of both shapes and colour scheme imbues the picture with a universal feel. The two nudes are a kind of ideal beings shorn of specific features, not linked to a particular time and place.
The depictions of women by Picasso and Léger
Lundstrøm’s classicistic figures are part of a wider trend within 1920s European art. They can be compared to Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) or Fernand Léger’s (1881-1955) depictions of women from the same era.
Another backdrop for Lundstrøm’s art is ”Purism”, a movement that emerged in France after World War I. The advocates of Purism disassociated themselves from Cubism, which they believed had grown into empty decoration, and recommended a purification of painting instead.