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Harald Oskar Sohlberg

 

Sohlberg’s (1869–1935) winter landscapes express a feeling of isolation, and the same has been said of his personality as an artist. He himself stressed the role of the unconscious in his paintings, depicting Norway’s imposing Rondane mountains and the changing of the seasons in the streets and lanes of Røros township.

Sohlberg trained as a painter-decorator from 1885–1889, also attending the Royal School of Drawing in Christiania (Oslo). In 1892 he went to Copenhagen, where he studied at Kristian Zahrtmann’s art school and was strongly influenced by the Synthetist paintings he saw at exhibitions of work by Paul Gauguin and Jens Ferdinand Willumsen. In 1894 Sohlberg exhibited his Night Glow (National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo) for which he was awarded a travel scholarship to Paris and Berlin.

Back in Norway, one of his favourite subjects became the Rondane mountains, where he stayed for the first time in 1899 and again in 1901–’02. He painted a number of views of this imposing landscape depicting white mountain peaks in the blue winter night, expressing the strong and intense moods that he experienced there. In 1902 he abandoned the subject temporarily, moving to Røros and subsequently to Christiania, and from then on the environs of the River Aker provided him with subjects. He resumed working on his Rondane motif in 1911, and completed the final version in 1914 for the Centennial Exhibition at Frogner.