In 1907 the completion of the southern wing of Nasjonalgalleriet (the National Gallery) resulted in a completely new hanging of the collections. Less than two years later Jens Thiis, having been appointed director, reorganized the permanent exhibitions again. The displaying of the works and the aesthetic arrangements of the new exhibitions was influenced by the recently opened Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin. Thiis insisted on unified interiors, with elegant wall coverings, architectural and decorative elements in styles appropriate to the art works. Through Thiis’ new arrangements, Edvard Munch was given a predominant place and was established as the leading figure in modern Norwegian art.
The irst and longest sitting director of The National Gallery in Oslo, Jens Thiis, started his education and scientific scholarship with a journey of more than 500 days through Europe’s art collections and museums. During this journey, he developed certain skills in respect of the popular method of art history at that time, connois-seurship. This essay follows Thiis on a journey that also served as the foundation for his great interest in and work with North-Italian renaissance drawings.
Women artists working in the decades around 1900 struggled to be accepted as serious and professional artists. A few of them, such as Astri Welhaven Heiberg, chose to focus on painting subject matter that has traditionally been associated with male creativity: the female nude. She painted non-idealized naked women who do not expose their physical attributes to the spectator, but rather relate to each other in a relaxed manner. They differ significantly from nudes painted by male artists.
Svein Rønning was an important figure in respect of the growing interest in silkscreen prints in Norway in the 1970s. An important quality in his works is his ability to unite the conceptual and the visual. The conceptual is primarily located in the works’ shifting identities, but also in the handwritten texts in some of his prints. Sweet colours are often chosen, easily connoting kitsch as a challenge to established conventions, but the works always end up with pure colour poetry.