|ARTIST:||Julius Olsson RA, RBA, PROI.|
|DATES:||British 1864 - 1942|
|TITLE:||Moonlight, Cornish Coast (Lands End)|
|MEDIUM:||Oil on canvas|
|SIZE:||46 x 61 cm|
Signed lower left
Exhibited R.B.A. #2
A larger version of this painitng was exhibited by Olsson at the Royal Academy in 1910
Julius Olsson RA, RBA, PROI
London 1864 – 1942 Dalkey
Julius Olsson was born in London of a Swedish father and an English mother. It is uncertain whether he received any formal artistic training, although he worked for a commercial art firm for some time. His work was first accepted at the Royal Academy in 1890 and he joined the New England Art Club in 1891.
Olsson moved to St Ives in 1896 and soon became involved in the local community, later being made a Justice of the Peace.
Olsson’s strength in painting lay in his depiction of light reflected on the sea. His seascapes made quite an impact in the 1890’s and in 1911 The Moonlit Shore (London, Tate Gallery) was bought for the Chantry Bequest. Although Olsson moved to London in 1911 he continued to make regular visits to Cornwall in his yacht, enabling him to see the coastline from a different perspective.
In 1914 Olsson was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy, full membership following in 1920. During the First World War he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer reserve. This gave him the opportunity to paint naval ships in action, such as A Lame Duck in the Channel, which shows a damaged vessel being towed through a rough sea.
After the war Olsson continued to paint in London, Ireland and Sweden. His subject matter was always related to water and his “ability for noting and remembering the thousands of forms which the ever-moving water is constantly assuming” was always praised. Occasionally he painted imaginary scenes such as Deep Sea Phantasy, depicting mermaids swimming underwater, but his real strength lay in his ability to capture the effects of the fall of light on the sea.
After his home in England was damaged by an air raid in World War II, Olsson moved to Dalkey, Ireland, where he died in 1942.
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