STILL-LIFE WITH ROSES AND A QUIMPER PLATE
Oil on canvas
25⅝ x 17 Inches
Signed Lower Right "Jais"
Dated Lower Right 1913
Born in Copenhagen in 1885, Johann Nielsen took the name Jais at an early age and adopted it for his signature. He first studied at Kristian Zahrtmann’s art school in 1899 and exhibited for the first time at the 1907 Autumn Salon in Copenhagen. He also participated in the Modernist group show with the Group of Thirteen (De Tretten). Neilsen's focus on dynamic figural painting set him apart from his contemporaries. His forms became increasingly simplified in the early years (1907-1911) and his Fauve use of color was a departure from traditional Danish painting. In 1911, he moved to Paris, settling in the Latin Quarter near the Musée Cluny. His first formal Salon exhibition was at the 1912 Salon d’Automne. Although Neilsen incorporated Cubist themes in his work and attended several meetings at the Section d’Or, held at Jacques Villon’s studio, he did not collaborate directly with other members of the movement.
At the outbreak of World War One Neilsen moved back to Copenhagen, taking the new Parisian Modernist style with him. His favored subjects were sports, dance and the circus, which he painted in the best tradition of the early Cubists. Initially, Neilsen’s work was not well received by the critics in Denmark. In 1920, he ceased to paint and concentrated on ceramics, becoming well-known for his work with the Royal Copenhagen porcelain company.
Jais Neilsen has now come to be recognized as a pioneer of Scandinavian modernism and his works are held in private and public collections including the permanent collections of numerous museums including Denmark's National Art Museum in Copenhagen and the National Museum in Oslo, Norway. Neilsen was the only Danish artist represented in the important Futurist exhibition, “Futurismo & Futurismi” in Venice, Italy in 1986 and a retrospective of his work was held at the Galerie 1900-2000 in 1986. The artist is well-listed in art historical reference works including Thieme-Becker, and Benezit which, unusually, gives a signature sample.
Benezit, Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs, Vol. X, p. 213; Thieme-Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Kunstler, Vollmer Supplement, Vol. XXV/XXVI, p. 465; Weilbach, Dansk Kunstnerleksikon; Bo Lindwall and Lars Erik Aström in: Bild art in Scandinavia, Vol. 4, 1973, 50, 74; Hanne Abildgaard: New then. Art Hist., Vol. 6, 1994; Davenport’s Art Reference Guide, 2007/8 Edition, p. 1733; et al.
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