Friday, 26 July 2013

Rogaland Kunstmuseum Stavanger

My eldest son and his family are in the middle of leaving Norway after five wonderful years. Today their house contents will be packed and then travel on to France. They will fly to their new home in Paris after a holiday in a log cabin on a Norwegian island.
I did this post and one that will follow after our last visit to them in early January, both have been languishing in drafts. 
A visit to the Museum of Fine Arts in Stavanger gave us an interesting visit for several reasons. The domed atrium conservatory entrance is a meeting point with a small cafe and a shop selling Nordic arts and crafts. We had just commenced our visit to the art gallery when one of the curators called us back into the atrium to listen to some music. Four young women were singing a new piece of Norwegian music without any instrumental backing. It is difficult to describe how haunting the singing echoing around the dome was. As they sang they slowly moved around, sometimes close together, at other times in the far corners from one another and creating an 'other worldly' melodic humming throughout the space. Our 16 year old granddaughter was enthralled, she has a lovely singing voice herself, and regularly sings in and around the Stavanger area - she was awarded a Saturday scholarship by Stavanger university to receive singing tuition in their music department, which she will now have to relinquish with their move.
Kitty Kielland sketch by Olav Rusti 
The art gallery introduced me to the work of Kitty Kielland (1843 - 1914) a Norwegian landscape painter. Kitty was born to an affluent family in Stavanger, and was the older sister of Alexander Kielland, also an artist. Although she received some training in drawing and painting, it was not until she turned thirty that she was allowed to train as a professional artist. She travelled to Karlsruhe where she was trained by Hans Gude, but as a women she was forced to take private lessons from Gude instead of being able to join his landscape painting class. She made rapid progress during the two years she spent training under his guidance. His adherence to realism left a lasting impression on Kitty that was visible in her later works. After the two years she departed for Munich where she joined a colony of Norwegian artists. In Munich she studied with Hermann Baisch, and Norwegian Eilif Peterssen whom she considered to be her most important teacher.
She spent 10 years living in Paris and this painting is from that period. Bretton women washing clothes and hanging them on the rocks to dry
Blossom tree in Cernay-la-Ville
Painter in the landscape at Cernay-la-Ville
Sommernatt 1886
Peat Bogs on Jæren 1882
Blått interiør (1883)
Effer solnedgang 1885
This painting above is in Stavanger art gallery
Paris interior
all images via wikipedia
This is my favourite painting - which seems fitting on this occasion as it shows Paris by a Norwegian artist.  
As we left the art gallery my eye was attracted to the nordic gift shop, and there I saw several Flensted mobiles. You may be familiar with them. 
In 1953, Christian Flensted from Denmark, created a stork mobile to celebrate the birth of his daughter. This first design was a great success and it now flies all over the world. In 1956 he gave up his job to devote his entire efforts to the fledgling mobile business. You can now buy mobiles for every occasion from festive Christmas trees to butterflies for the nursery. However, the ones I like the most are the abstract designs. The one I chose was a display item only, but they kindly let me purchase it for half price.

42 comments:

  1. Interesting post about the Norwegian painter. She used earthy colors and she was immortalized moments of everyday life. I wish to your son a good start and a pleasant stay in Paris .

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  2. Thank you Olympia - it is another big step for the family - new schools, new home, new friends and we are wishing them all of our best wishes. Fortunately they are all fluent in French which is a big help.
    Kitty Kielland was a new artist to me, I feel that I have neglected women painters, so next time I show some they will be by another female artist, but English.

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  3. Hi Rosemary, Exciting times for your Son and his family. Thanks for sharing some culture too.

    Annie

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    1. Thanks Annie - we are hoping everything goes well for them and that they settle happily.

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  4. What a wonderful artist you have discovered in Kitty Kielland, Rosemary. I 'collect' women artists, as I have always felt they were undervalued, historically. Her work has a wonderful freshness - I'm trying to work out what it is. Maybe the quality of the light, which we Australians always like to think our 'impressionist' artists were the experts in. I agree with you, the Paris Interior is a fantastic painting. I'd love to own any of them!
    Best wishes to your son and family for their move to Paris. No doubt you will be popping over there regularly!

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    1. A male that I know once said to me there are no great women artists!!! I am sure you can imagine how I felt at that remark. The reason they did not figure during the earlier centuries was due to the fact that it was not considered befitting for 'ladies' to paint and earn a living. If they painted it was a personal genteel pursuit along with playing the piano, and needlework. Even Kitty was not allowed to join Hans Gude's drawing and painting lessons but had to receive private tuition simply because she was a women.
      It is quite an anxious time for the little family getting themselves sorted, but we shall pop over and see them as soon as they are settled and feel able to have some visitors.

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  5. Yes, a wonderful artist! Best of luck to your son and family. x

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    1. Thank you Suzy for your good luck wishes - Kitty was an unknown artist to me, but I enjoyed becoming familiar with her paintings in Norway.

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  6. Dear Rosemary,

    It's hard for me to choose a favorite of Kitty Kielland's work, but it might be the one right before your own favorite. I like that rich pallette. And your new mobile is very handsome — for me it evokes the world of physics . . .

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    1. That painting was a very close second for me Mark - it is a very large piece of work and has a feeling of serenity about it.
      I have admired the Flensted mobiles for a long time - I seem to recall that mine is called Symphony in Three Movements, but you are right it does bring to mind the world of physics.

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  7. What beautiful paintings! I love the soft lighting and romantic landscapes - remind me a bit of paintings from the Danish Golden Age. I hope your son and his family enjoy the City of Light!!

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    1. Dear Loi - it is another big upheaval for the family, but they have lived in Paris before so hopefully some of their old friends will still be around. Their new home is in the same district as previously - it is his daughters that may find it difficult at first - new school, new friends etc.
      There is definitely a feeling of Scandinavia in Kitty's paintings and I think that you are right about them being reminiscent of the paintings from the Danish Golden Age.

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  8. What a beautiful tour! I suppose now you are going to have your family nearer. Glad for you!

    Marina

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    1. It was a 2 hour plane journey to Norway, and just a bit less to Paris, but we shall have more choice of airports to fly from, and if necessary take our car over on the euro tunnel.

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  9. How wonderful to be able to buy such an artistic object from a gift shop!

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    1. I wouldn't have bought it if it had been full price - couldn't resist a bargain!!!

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  10. I enjoyed the introduction to an artist I'd never otherwise have encountered - thank you.
    How lucky you are to have a son who lives in interesting places! I'm hoping that one of ours will set off for parts as yet un-visited...what a treat that would be!

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    1. Until I encountered Kitty in Stavanger I knew nothing about her either - I am always happy to find out about another female painter who has been successful despite all the difficulties women often encountered on their journey.
      My eldest son is a Geologist and he has lived in Scotland, France, and Norway - now back to Paris. All the places he has lived have been lovely to visit - so Paris here we come!!!

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  11. I like these paitings. Without them we would not know what life was like in pictures back then :)

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    1. That is so right - they are like the photographs of the time recording events, people, and landscapes from the period.

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  12. Hello Rosemary, I love your choice of mobiles--a great souvenir, it is equally easy to imagine it as some bizarre solar system or atomic model. Seeing this reminds me of a story when I was in college, and rescued an odd mobile made of plastic eyeballs (just my style, as you can imagine); unfortunately it was later misappropriated.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. I made a mobile for each of my son's bedrooms when they were young. Your mobile sounds great fun, surreal in fact - what a shame that the eyes were misappropriated, I wonder if the person kept it for themselves.

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  13. I enjoyed the description of the four young women singing and moving. I wonder if you were able to obtain a CD of their work? I do hope your eldest son and family soon settle in their new home and your grand daughter finds an outlet for her singing and further tuition whilst living in France.

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    1. Apparently the music was written by a local Norwegian composer, and this was its premier - I would have loved a CD of it.
      My granddaughter's tutor at the University has given her the names of two people in Paris, so we are hoping that they will be suitable and not live on the opposite side of Paris to them.

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  14. I especially like these interiors, so evocative, a wonderful post by the way. (Thanks for the Hostas error, I don't know where my mind was that day!)

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    1. Exactly the same thing happens to me - glad you did not mind me mentioning it.

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  15. Great, really wonderful paintings from a great artist!Thank you for this post!
    Best wishes to your son, how exciting life they must have!
    Kisses from me and a bientot!
    Olympia

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    1. I suppose their life does seem exciting, but it is quite an upheaval moving to another country, another language, and different rules and regulations. For their girls too, new friends, and new school. Hopefully they will adapt quickly and settle down.
      Kitty was a new discovery for me when I was last in Norway, I am pleased you enjoyed seeing some of her work.
      Lots and lots of fun and happy family times during August Olympia.

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  16. What a beautiful artist, Rosemary: all the light of a Turner and that ponderous, grave style which follows so many Norwegian artists. I love these paintings, especially the Paris woman; though I think my favourite is the white house.

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    1. I expect really and truly the white house is my favourite too Kate - the colours and reflection in it are so beautiful. Somehow the one showing a glimpse of Paris was more in line with my thoughts regarding the little family moving there in a few days time.

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    2. Dear Rosemary,i wish all the best to your son and his family!
      Wonderful paintings from a great artist!I like his work!!!
      Thank you for sharing!Have a lovely weekend!
      Dimi...

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    3. Thanks Dimi - it is both an exciting but also anxious time for them all. Glad you liked Kitty's paintings.

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  17. The landscape paintings are wonderful. It's nice to see Norwegian artist's works as not many of them are exhibited worldwide. I also like the Paris Interior painting as it shows the private world of the artist. All the best to your son's move to Paris.

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    1. Thank you Pamela for your good wishes to my eldest son and his little family. We shall feel more relaxed about them once we have seen their new home, and his daughters have started in their new school, it is a big upheaval.
      I only discovered Kitty's paintings on my last visit to Stavanger - my blog seemed a good opportunity to give her a wider audience.

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  18. I've loved discovering Kitty Kielland through your fascinating post, Rosemary. It is interesting to see Paris and Norway through her eyes. I hope all goes well for your son and his family in their move and that your granddaughter develops her wonderful talent.

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    1. Dear Wendy - thank you, I am pleased that you enjoyed seeing Kitty's work - I am on a mission to bring more female painters to our notice - next one English.
      Thank you too regarding our sons move, it is a big upheaval as you can probably imagine, but I hope that they all settle down quickly. The girls will soon feel at home if they like their new school and make some good friends. The eldest loves to sing, it seems to be a big part of who she is, so hopefully someone in Paris will take an interest in her.

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  19. I love the soft tones of her paintings, interesting that she chose such muted colours... I wonder why.

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    1. I have noticed often that Scandinavian painters do tend to chose a muted pallet - I think that this may be reflected from their landscape and surroundings of birch trees, waving golden grasses, and they like to paint their homes in greys and russet colours.

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  20. Beautiful paintings - lovely story.

    We have much in common - including 16 year old granddaughters who sing! Sad she'll have to give up the tuition in Stavanger, hopefully Paris will offer something similar. We are funding private voice lessons with a professional soprano for Jasmin - she loves it and says she is learning so much. She sings in her senior high school chorus - we love to attend the concerts - and recently she was in a recital of the voice teacher's students. She also loves to sing jazz so chose 'Lullaby of Birdland' for her recital offering - it was really fabulous and we were proud of her!

    Hope the move goes well for your family - as mentioned earlier, not a bad place to transfer to, for them, for you!
    Mary

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    1. I am sure that you feel the same way as me Mary when you listen to your granddaughter sing - I have to blink back the tears. It is a shame that she has to give up her scholarship - the interview was all carried out speaking Norwegian and she is an English speaker. She had to play her saxophone as well as sing. Her tutor at the university has found the names of two teachers in Paris so they are hoping that they will not be on the other side of Paris.
      It is the same for my granddaughter as it is for Jasmin - she just loves to sing, it is a big part of who she is.

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  21. I do love the way you keep introducing us to artists we may never have heard of, Rosemary. Like you, I particularly like the Paris interior.

    Your son and his family must have to make some big adjustments as the move from one country to another like this. i do hope all goes very well for them in their new home.

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    1. Dear Perpetua - their Norwegian island holiday ends tomorrow and they fly off to Paris in the evening. They will not be able to get into their new home in Paris until Wednesday so I am anxious to know that everything has gone to plan for them. Hopefully I will be able to skype them at the end of next week.
      I discovered Kitty myself when I visit the museum in Stavanger - I am, by the way, on a mission to show more women painters on my blog.

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