Portrait of Nikolai Astrup, painted by Henrik Lund, 1900.
Photo: Oslo City museum
Nikolai Astrup is one of Norway’s most beloved artists. His
paintings and his graphic arts, representing the mighty nature of Jølster with
mountains, grey rocks and luxuriant vegetation, modest small holdings and
commonplace people is something which we still strongly associate with our
Astrup was a true artist of his native soil; - and yet he possessed a distinct
international orientation. After several years of studies abroad, he returned
home to Jølster where
he settled down for good. What could have been the
cultural back cloth and the artistic challenge explaining his strong
his home and origin? Why do we consider his art
works being of such a typically
national character? And is it
of significance for us today that his art is being
interpreted as distinctly Norwegian? On the whole; how do we regard Astrup in
To shed some light on this, three of Norway’s leading art museums; viz. Haugar
Vestfold Art Museum, Drammen Museum and Bergen Art Museum have joined forces in
arranging the exhibition ”Nikolai Astrup – Roots and Identity”. This exhibition will be touring
the most important regional museums in Norway during 2005 and 2006, showing
about 100 of Astrup’s most significant works.
"There is a young painter, Nikolai Astrup is his name, who at present; - at
Blomqvist, is exhibiting several of his works deserving the greatest attention.
It is the strange and breathtaking nature he gives us - in a new and
unconventional way. Astrup views it with the cheerful unbiased eyes of a child
of nature. And the picture, the image has taken shape in his imagination, such
as its true nature really is; - without words, without explanations".
(Review in "Posten" 19th April, 1905 in connection with Astrup's debut exhibition. Other reviews were equally enthusiastic).