Towards the end of the 1950s, Jakob Weidemann reached a point of clarity in his artistic quest through his so-called Forest Floor pictures. The style he used in these works was admittedly nothing new, neither in his own oeuvre nor, if we look farther afield, in the output of the French artists Jean Fautrier and Serge Poliakoff, who have often been cited as Weidemann’s artistic forebears. Rather, the novelty of the pictures lay above all in how Weidemann worked the material, which gave many of these paintings a tactile dimension. At the same time he renounced the purely concrete-abstract painting for good, and manifested himself as a painter whose style was abstract but who retained a fundamental attachment to nature.
The painting Autumn Leaves, from 1959, is one of the first works of the Forest Floor series. Weidemann is still rather gentle in his use of the material, and the individual fields of colour are easily distinguishable. The hues have been kept dense, dark, and earthy, and the scene, such as it is described in the title, has been transformed to an abstract interplay of geometric fields of colour. As with many of the postwar European painters, also Weidemann based his early style on cubist painting, before the impressions of nature gradually led him to lean more towards the intersection between perceptible reality and abstraction.
Nature remained a source of inspiration and a focal point in Weidemann’s art, even though he eventually did lift his gaze from the forest floor. The experience of the miracle of spring, as seen through the flowers’ struggle towards the light, became the main motif in his pictures from the mid-1960s on.
Text: Karin Hellandsjø
From "Highlights. Art from 1945 to the Present", Nasjonalmuseet 2016, ISBN 978-82-8154-116-0