Hugo Larsen: The Post Office in Christiansted

Hugo Larsen: The Post Office in Christiansted, 1938, oil on canvas, 62 x 88 cm. Private collection.

A beautiful motive with a scenery that Hugo Larsen may well have sketched during his stay on St. Croix in 1905-06. But the painting is dated more than thirty years later. And those who are knowledgeable in Christiansted's geography will notice a peculiar detail: The background is wrong. Behind the beautiful building which served as a post office in Hugo Larsen's time and now serves representative purposes, something important is missing: In the motive's full width stands - and stood - the big yellow Fort Christiansværn. But wouldn't an artist have his freedom to change the motive to suit his purpose? Yes and no. Hugo Larsen's academic background was a realistic school. Realism meant to Hugo Larsen that he was limited to painting what he saw, not adding or subtracting to his motives. In the Then and Now article, several examples of his realism are displayed. The simple explanation to the missing background must be that he originally sketched the foreground only and later forgot about the real background. Which does not subtract from the beauty of the painting.

<< Previous  | Overview  | Next >>