Writer and art critic Lisbeth Bonde was Preben Fjederholt’s life partner for a number of years before he passed away in 2000, only 44 years old. Her monograph Følelsen er alt (The feeling is everything), published with support from the New Carlsberg Foundation, is both a biographical memory image and a look at Fjederholt’s practice in an art history context.
As a painter, Fjederholt sought out his own path. His work lay in extension of the romantic and realistic tradition with paintings that, according to Bonde, appeared somewhat traditional to his fellow artists – not least in the contemporary art scene, which Bonde describes as being dominated by conceptual and performative trends. For example, Fjederholt’s circle of motifs consisted of still lifes in shades of grey, dream-like interiors and soft-focus landscapes, suggesting a closer aesthetic kinship with turn-of-the-century symbolists such as Arnold Böcklin and Vilhelm Hammershøi than with Fjederholt’s contemporaries. The artist’s style reflected his personality, which was characterized by both curiosity and sensitivity, as Bonde explains:
‘He felt that he had been born a century too late, and mentally he felt more at home with the “nobility of nerve” or with the sublimely susceptible artists and writers (as described by Knut Hamsun) who related with seismographic sensitivity and exquisite and aristocratic responsiveness to their surroundings and the profound transformation resulting from industrialization.’
Fjederholt succumbed to illness after an extended stay in Italy and leaves behind a comprehensive body of work which deserves the wide audience that a publication may engage, Bonde writes:
‘It is my wish that the book will prevent Preben Fjederholt, as the important late-twentieth-century artist that he was, from slipping, undeservedly, into oblivion. It is my hope that the many reproductions of his works in the book may convince readers who are unfamiliar with his art of its beauty and depth. But also for those who are already familiar with his work to find further confirmation ...’