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The history of the Norwegian art history journal Kunst og Kultur (art and culture) is a telling story of changes in academic publishing, printing and reproduction technologies and the practice of art history writing. Kunst og Kultur was first published in 1910 and quickly became a widely acknowledged journal for essays and essential information, ranging from art, sculpture, architecture, urban planning, industrial design, glass art, embroidery, art collections and exhibitions. Although the title remains the same, the journal has undergone a significant transition from a general audience, modern art history journal to a specialized journal for academic publishing in art history, in the Norwegian language.
This article aims to shed light on the circumstances under which the periodical Kunst og Kultur was launched in 1910–1911 by art historian Harry Fett (1875–1962) and archaeologist Haakon Shetelig (1877–1955). It is argued that the periodical was established as a political initiative, aimed at promoting the contributions of visual arts, crafts and architecture to the nation-building processes going on in the recently independent Norwegian kingdom. The editorial profile in the 1920s and 1930s is discussed, as is Harry Fett’s ambition to integrate the periodical in a kind of “think tank” after the close of World War II. These plans were however never fulfilled.
Edvard Munch (1863–1944) is considered the most significant artist in the Norwegian history of art. In the Norwegian journal Kunst og Kultur, Munch and his work was given more attention than any other featured artist. The Munch texts represent different methods for investigating his art, and also reveal divergent views on both his position as an international artist in the history of art and as a contemporary artist in Norway.
This article discusses the book Fra naturalisme til nyromantikk (1934) by the Norwegian art historian Leif Østby, in an art historiographical perspective. Østby claims that the foundation of modern art in Norway was laid around 1890 with the move from Naturalism to Neo-Romanticism, and that it was caused by the liberation of colour as an autonomous aesthetic means. The book was published in the Terrakotta Series of Kunst og Kultur, and became the starting point for Østby’s career.
With Magne Malmanger’s article «Norsk kunstdebatt ved modernismens terskel. Fra ‘Erindringens kunst’ til ‘det dekorative’» (1985) as a point of departure, Erik Mørstad discusses some of the topics that were raised by Malmanger. The transition from realism into symbolism and decorative painting is given a major focus. The contemporary artistic and theoretical discourse in Norway drifted towards renewal under the influence of European modernism, but the development was halted by the intervention of leading artists and critics who preferred the nationalist trend in the art of painting. Some Norwegian painters, however, turned to formal modernism as time went on.
This article examines the field of decorative arts and design as it appears in the journal Kunst og Kultur. Focusing on three periods and three stories of change, it discusses why the Norwegian museums of decorative arts lost interest in handicrafts (1910s), different views on whether modern tapestries belonged to the fields of decorative or fine arts (1960s), and the acceptance of fashion as a subject worthy of study (2000 onwards).
This article examines the role that the art history journal Kunst og Kultur has played in Norwegian architecture historiography. Kunst og Kultur advocated one particular story of the development of modern Norwegian architecture up until the 1980s, in correspondence with other literature of the time. During later years, the journal presented a variety of studies and perspectives, reflecting the broadened field of art history.