Carl Fredrik Hill (31 May 1849 – 22 February 1911) was a Swedishpainter and draftsman. He is known for the atmospheric landscapes he painted during the first four years of his career, and for the drawings of fantastical scenes he created after he became mentally ill in his late twenties.
Born the son of a mathematics professor, Hill grew up in the university town of Lund in southern Sweden and had to strike out on his own as a landscape painter against his father’s wishes. After studying at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, he went to France. In the summer of 1874, he travelled to the village of Barbizon south of Paris, which was a thriving artists’ colony. Both the Barbizon School and Camille Corot had a decisive influence on him.
Hill wrote: “I have become convinced that art has no other goal than the truth, le vrai. Not the tritely naturalistic, but the true heart.” He sought his subjects at different sites in France; Montigny-sur-Loing, Champagne and Normandy. Influenced by Impressionism, he abandoned the dark coloration of his early paintings in 1876, and began painting in a freer style, sometimes applying impasto with a palette knife. “Ambition drives me to overexert myself and I give myself no peace” he said. Yet, Hill’s endeavors were not crowned with official success; his works were rejected when he presented them at the Paris Salon. After a severe psychotic attack in January 1878 and subsequent hospitalization, his career as a landscape painter came to an end at the age of 28. He was diagnosed with hallucinations and paranoia. Friends helped him return home to Sweden where he gained sanctuary at his parental home after a short period at St. Lars mental hospital in Lund. At home he was cared for by his mother and a sister for 28 years until his death in 1911. Hill was buried at Östra churchyard in Lund.