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... have one cover or postcard with post mark from each post office from Faroe Islands.
They are not so many, but without you will not be possible.
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Sunday, 8 May 2011

Art: Frida Zachariassen

Frida Zachariassen – a distinctive painter from Klaksvík

Frida Zachariassen was one of the most distinctive artists in the Faeroe Islands during the 1950s. She developed her own personal style, characterised by geometric figures in compositions portraying landscapes, towns, villages and people. Sometimes the colours in Frida Zachariassen’s paintings are clear and strong, but they also often feature blurred and thin colour tones; in some of the paintings, earth tones dominate. In the 1930s and 1940s, her painting style focused on content and emotions leaning towards the romantic, with replication of the grandeur of nature, the sublime and the eternal. Around 1950, Frida Zachariassen began painting more abstractly. Landscapes and people were dissolved and reconstructed with squares, stripes and triangles. The main works are constructions made of lines and figures in colours such as saturated green and cool blue and grey, sometimes accompanied by black lines. Despite this abstraction and organisation, Frida Zachariassen’s paintings were never non-figurative. Her paintings always depict something recognisable.

In Frida Zachariassen’s landscape paintings, the relationship between the land and people is clear and meaningful. People populate her landscapes and they are often embedded in the landscape. The people in her paintings are active; they work as fishermen, prepare their boats to set sail, unload, walk on fell paths, go to the market, butcher pilot whales, harvest straw and herd sheep.

Frida Zachariassen was from Klaksvík and lived there for the majority of her life. She was born in 1912 and died in 1992. Her mother was Magdalena Jacobsen, who was from Klaksvík’s Uppsalar neighbourhood, and her father was Jógvan Rasmussen, who was called by the place he came from, Jógvan í Grótinum, located by Skálafjørður on Eysturoy. Frida Zachariassen grew up in a busy home with nine siblings and a father who was the leading figure in Klaksvík at the start of the twentieth century.

In 1927, Frida Zachariassen completed her middle school examination with good marks and in 1937 she graduated from the Merchants’ School in Copenhagen. She also wanted an education in art. She wrote about this in the book Strev í málrøkt (Efforts in tending language):
“As a youth, I was most interested in working with paintings and getting an education in Copenhagen. But it quickly became clear that one could not live from making “art”.  Despite the fact that Faroese could easily gain admission to the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts at that time, there were so few that four years there seemed to be of no use and far too expensive. Therefore, I chose a business school education and then began working at an office.”

In other words, it was impossible for her to go into a field that could not provide an income. Instead, she found a means of survival and made art in her free time.

During the war, she worked at the offices of the merchant and shipping company, J. F. Kjølbro in her home town. In May of 1944, she married Guttormur Zachariassen, but their marriage was short-lived. He died in a wreck in February 1945. After the war, she returned to Copenhagen, where she worked at an office until 1949. Of the drawings held at Norðoya Listafelag (the Northern Islands Art Association), many are from this period. They indicate that she went to the Danish Museum of Art to draw. When she returned to Klaksvík, she oversaw the region’s health insurance for more than twenty years.

Frida Zachariassen’s production of paintings was greatest in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, her eyesight diminished, so she began writing instead of painting.

Many of her paintings are from Klaksvík and the surrounding region; these include landscapes, portraits and images of working life. The colours often contrast: red and green, blue and green, red and blue, giving her paintings a sense of both coldness and warmth. It was also during the 1950s that she developed her special cubist style. Meanwhile, she began to travel extensively to develop her art.

The rhythmic patterns and light colours that mark the paintings “Kona” (“Woman”) and “Urtagarður” (“The Garden”) show the splendour of Frida Zachariassen’s unique style. She created art featuring cubist forms that concentrate her expression while giving it form and depth.

Malan Marnersdóttir

Technical data:
Values: two stamps of 6.00 and 26.00DKK
Date of issue: 26-IV-2011
Author: Frida Zachariassen
Technique: Offset
Printer: LMGroup, Canada

1 comment:

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