Art in Review

Gunnar Norrman

Gunnar Norrman at Fitch-Febvrel Gallery

Art in Review, The New York Times, Friday, May 20, 1988, by John Russell

Gunnar Norrman is a Swedish draftsman and print maker, born in 1912, who excels in the portrayal of "unimportant" landscapes — patches of ground that have nothing spectacular to distinguish them from anywhere else. Yet they turn out, in his hands, to secrete a mysterious and precisely calibrated vibration. There are images in this show that could hang with a drawing by Seurat and survive.

We marvel, quietly, when faced with these sumptuous concentrations of black, and with the delicately hatched lines on the plate that form up, when printed, as clouds a weather forecaster could at once identify. Mr. Norrman's art is tiny in scale, but the longer we look at it, the firmer and more steady its statements become.

There is a complete world — a rain-soaked, waterlogged northern world — in each of these microscopic images. And when Mr. Norrman evokes a seaside town reborn in the early light of a Scandinavian Sunday, we have to acclaim him as a master.

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