The 19th century saw a boom in Norway’s art scene, particularly with the introduction of landscape artists such as Johannes Flintoe and Johan Christian Dahl. An increase in Impressionist, Modernist and Realist artists has since given local art a further boost, after a long period of importing rather than creating new work. Today, there are also many internationally recognised Norwegian artists, including jewellers, sculptors and printmakers.
The wide range of artistic talent emanating from Norway means that Oslo’s National Gallery now has plenty to offer besides The Scream, the famous 1893 painting by Edvard Munch . Although Munch’s painting attracts hordes of visitors, existential angst is just one of the emotional experiences on offer at the gallery.
Joey Horn is an avid collector of contemporary Norwegian art. One of the most well-known contemporary Norwegian artists is Odd Nerdrum, best known for his remarkable, figurative paintings. Defying the Modernist era, Nerdrum revisits the Old Master’s traditional aesthetic values, paying homage to Caravaggio and Rembrandt. His earlier work comments on social issues while later pieces seem steeped in the spiritual. The self-proclaimed ‘alien’ of the art world, Nerdrum is well respected by other renowned artists.
Pia Myrvold has been considered an important artist since 1980. Much celebrated throughout Norway, she is recognised for her multimedia artworks. Blending design, technology, fashion, music, video, dance, architecture and the internet, Myrvold creates hybrid forms which reflect urban life and contemporary reality. Her work has been displayed all over the world.
Vebjorn Sand’s innovative artwork has been inspired by expeditions to Antarctica and Greenland. The Ice Bridge is one of his most famous pieces, based on Leonardo da Vinci’s Golden Horn design. The 30-foot structure, constructed entirely of ice, was designed to raise awareness of climate change. Vebjorn’s work can be found in public art displays and gallery spaces.
With one of Scandinavia’s most vibrant art scenes, Norway’s government has generously invested in the art spaces emerging in the country since the ‘80s. However, the community remains spirited, celebrating individuality and creativity. Norway’s art scene looks set to continue its booming success.