KREUGER, Nils Edvard
(b. 1858, Kalmar, d. 1930, Stockholm)
Swedish painter, draughtsman and illustrator. From 1874 he studied at the Konstakademi in Stockholm, where he soon became a friend of Richard Bergh and Karl Nordström, both of whom were later prominent exponents of the more advanced Swedish painting of the 1880s and 1890s. After being forced to interrupt his studies because of illness, Kreuger trained from 1878 at the art school of Edvard Perseus (1841-90) in Stockholm before he travelled to Paris, where he stayed for the most part until 1887. He made his début at the Paris Salon in 1882, and he also resided in the artists' colony in Grèz-sur-Loing. During this period he painted such works as Old Country House (1887; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm) with a free brushwork and sense of light that owed much to Jules Bastien-Lepage.
In 1885 Kreuger was active in organizing the Opponenterna, a protest movement led by Ernst Josephson against the conservative establishment of the Konstakademi in Stockholm, and the following year he helped to found the Konstnärsförbund (Artists' Union). Like the majority of the Konstnärsförbund's members, Kreuger abandoned the French-inspired plein-air realism of the 1880s for symbolically coloured National Romanticism in the 1890s. For Kreuger this change took place between 1893 and 1896 in Varberg on the west coast of Sweden, where, together with Bergh and Nordström, he founded the Varberg Group. Drawing on Paul Gauguin's Synthetism, the group contributed to the formation of the National Romantic style of the 1890s in Sweden.
Kreuger's encounter with van Gogh's drawings at an exhibition in Copenhagen in 1893 also played a decisive role in his development. He devised an intensely personal style in which the landscape was composed in large blocks that were then covered by a pattern of directional lines and dots in India ink (somewhat in the manner of van Gogh's late landscape drawings) to bring out the painting's colour values and create an effect of decoratively stylised forms: for example Spring in Halland (1894; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm).
Kreuger was also a prolific draughtsman and illustrator.