By Ulf Abel
”I want to be Sweden’s Rembrandt or die” is a famous and much cited exclamation by the young Ernst Josephson (1851–1906). What he finally became was Sweden’s Ernst Josephson, one of the country’s leading painters. In his portraits he distilled the finest from the European tradition of portraiture, from Titian to Manet. And his later work, with its liberated use of colour and freedom of drawing, introduces modern developments in art. He is constantly accompanied in his art by the theme of the water sprite, an expression of his innermost ego; from an early trip to Norway in the form of a poem right up to the late drawings.