Peder Monsted

by Armand Cabrera

Peder Mork Monsted was born in 1859 in Denmark. At 16 he enrolled in the Academy at Copenhagen where he studied under Andries Fritz and Julius Exner . After Monsted left the academy at the age of twenty he studied with Peder Severin Kroyer in his studio and later Adolphe Bouguereau in Paris. He travelled extensively through Europe and North Africa. Although Monsted worked in an academic style, his paintings have a keen sense of light, most likely helped by his outdoor sketches. He died in 1941 at the age of 82.

One look at his work and you can see why he was considered the best landscape painter of his day in Denmark. While some of his genre paintings with figures fall into sugary clichés, the quality of his landscapes are untouchable. He was especially adept at depicting water and forest interiors.

I have little information on him beyond these few scraps from galleries and auction catalogs with his work. As far as I know there is no monograph on him.

I became aware of his work in the early 90’s though gallery ads in magazines and was lucky enough to have a local gallery that carried his work in Marin county where I lived at the time. What is missed in these reproductions is the scale of the paintings. The ones I saw were large- five or six feet across in most cases and they just glowed with that ambient light that anyone who has taken a walk through a forest is familiar with. The paint handling is controlled but the details are still suggested. He was a master at composing the complexities of a forest interior into an organized and believable design. His control of color and value is exquisite. I hope a museum will mount a show and produce a color catalog on this fine artist soon; he deserves it.