Artist Stories

Life and Work of Peder Mørk Mønsted

Maya M. Tola 20 June 2020 min Read

Today marks 79 years since the death of Peder Mørk Mønsted, a Danish painter who created an extensive oeuvre in realist works of art. Though a talented all-round painter, he is perhaps best known for his depictions of Scandinavian landscapes and coastlines. His works have a captivating and hyper-realistic quality that sets him apart from other masters of realism over the ages.

Peder Mork Monsted, A Forest Stream
Peder Mørk Mønsted, A Forest Stream, ca. 1905. Wikimedia Commons.

Beginnings & Education

Though born a few years after the "golden era" of Danish painting, Mønsted was undoubtedly a product of that era. As with many other "natural born" artists, he showed an early inclination for painting. This was then honed by his education at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (1875 - 1879). His works bear the influence of artists such as Julius Exner and William Adolphe Bouguereau; in 1882, Mønsted spent some time working in Bouguereau's studios in Paris.

Peder Mork Monsted, Late Spring Day in Vallensboek
Peder Mørk Mønsted, Late spring day in Vallensbæk, 1922. Wikimedia Commons.

Hyper-realistic Quality

Though esteemed during his lifetime, not enough has been said about Mønsted's incredible talent. The crowning glory of his works were his depictions of rural life and the dense forests of his native Denmark. He had an incredible eye for accuracy and captured the minutest details. The clarity and luminous quality of his work, particularly his renderings of snow, sunlight, or water, are so realistic that they take your breath away! His paintings have an amazing photorealistic quality yet they also maintain the elegant touch of skillful oil paintings — a remarkable feat! 

Peder Mørk Mønsted, A day in April with spring thaw. Jondalselven (the river of Jondal). Telemark in Norway,
Peder Mørk Mønsted, A day in April with spring thaw. Jondalselven (the river of Jondal). Telemark in Norway, ca. 1935. Wikimedia Commons.

Extensive Travels

Mønsted traveled extensively throughout his life, visiting Algeria, Spain, Egypt, and Greece. In Greece, he was briefly the guest of King George I who commissioned him to create portraits of the Greek royal family. He also spent considerable time in Switzerland and was very popular in Germany. He held several shows in Paris and Munich.

Peder Mørk Mønsted, A cactus growing on the old rooftops in Italy
Peder Mørk Mønsted, A cactus growing on the old rooftops in Italy, ca. 1906. Wikimedia Commons.

Long & Successful Artistic Career

During his lifetime Mønsted gained much-deserved acclaim as well as significant financial success. Today, most of his works are in private collections though some are exhibited at the Chi-Mei Museum in Taiwan and the Dahesh Museum in New York. The artist died in Fredensborg, Denmark on June 20, 1941, after a long and successful career and having created an incredible oeuvre cataloging the beauty of Scandinavia.

Peder Mørk Mønsted, Spring Landscape
Peder Mørk Mønsted, Spring Landscape, ca. 1893. Wikimedia Commons.

You might also want to read:

https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/marie-and-peder-severin-kroyer/
https://www.dailyartmagazine.com/lili-elbe-transgender-woman-painter/

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