Norwegian artist Kristian Krog’s iconic large-scale painting depicting Leif Eriksson discovering America once graced the elegant entrance of Norway’s Old National Gallery in Oslo. Since then, the painting has been stored in the basement of the new National Museum, along with many other historic pieces, sparking complaints that forced an apology over the weekend, and the painting was eventually returned to public view.
newspaper class kampen has published a series of essays by art historian Steiner Jesin in recent weeks. He has been advising art collectors for many years and previously worked at the Museum of Modern Art in Norway. One of Norway’s museums, including the National Gallery, has been combined to form the new National Gallery, which finally opened last year.
Jesin is frustrated that many prominent Norwegian artists from the 1900s, such as Kai Fer and Ludwig Karsten, are not represented in the National Gallery. Krog was one of Norway’s most respected artists, known for his social commentary during his time, and his iconic paintings remain. Leiv Eriksson oppdager America It has not been shown since the National Gallery closed its doors four years ago. The work debuted in Norway’s exhibition at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893 and was donated to the National Gallery in Oslo in 1900.
Complaint about the absence of one of Krogh’s major works The remarks turned into outrage over the weekend, when the National Museum’s collections director explained why the exhibit had been removed from view. Swede Stina Högqvist told the newspaper that the painting “romanticized the Norwegians who went to America.” Aftenposten While being interviewed about the debate surrounding Norwegian art that is no longer on display at the National Gallery. “It’s a colonialist picture.”
The response was swift and ferocious. Other art historians equated Högqvist’s explanation with censorship, and art critics argued that Högqvist had “cancelled” Krog and placed him in the proverbial corner of disgrace. “I think this is an unwise way to manage the National Museum’s collection,” said Agnes Moksnes, a longtime cultural critic for Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “What we are talking about is a national museum with everything. This is where we lift and flaunt the symbols of our country. We can happily discuss them, but if it is It would be unwise to jump to the conclusion that it is ‘colonial’ and use that as an argument to remove it from the wall.”
She added that it was not the National Museum’s job to resort to censorship. Art critic Tommy Sorbo explained this to NRK. He called it a “dangerous development.”
By Monday, Norway’s parliament’s culture committee had asked for an explanation. “This not only shows a lack of understanding of our history, but it can also be dangerous,” Progressive Party lawmaker Ciriye Hijemdar told the newspaper. dagsavisen. Conservative MP Taj Pettersen said that while reading Mr Högqvist’s explanation, he had “drunk my morning coffee”. He had sent written questions to Labour’s Culture Minister Annette Trettebergstuen, who is vice chair of the culture committee and has political responsibility for state-funded museums. “We want to know what she thinks about the need for a cultural canon (an authoritative selection of important works) in large national institutions.”
Reds MP Mimir Kristjansson was also dissatisfied, telling NRK: “We must accept the viewing of paintings that do not meet the morally and politically correct standards of the 2020s.” He also disagreed that Krogh’s work was colonialist. “Leiv Eriksson did not colonize America,” he told NRK. “There were other people who did that.”
Högqvist had already apologized. for what she called a “careless” remark. Aftenposten Reporter. And in response to a question about how she and her colleagues are looking to modernize the new museum’s exhibits, she said the museum “wants to challenge the norm,” which has historically shown works by primarily white male artists. said.
“We now have more female artists, more Sami artists (a large Sami artwork is on display at the entrance of the new museum instead of Krog), and who happen to be born white. We’re exhibiting more art by people who aren’t “skin”,” Högqvist said. Aftenposten. “We want to have a relevant and fresh perspective on art history.”
By Sunday, she suddenly changed her mind about Krogh’s Leif Erikson painting, claiming that she no longer thought it was “colonial.” She also said in a comment sent by the museum’s public relations department that she was “sorry for starting a discussion about the cancellation.” Krogh’s work has not been canceled by the National Museum. ”
Instead, she now wants to exhibit “both classics and works that have never been exhibited before or have only been exhibited to a small extent. The bottom line is that there is more to this painting than this painting of Krogh at the beginning. She noted that Krogh’s painting about Leif Eriksson “was on display at the stairway entrance of the National Gallery for many years until it was moved to the new museum.”
Although Pettersen remained anxious in Congress, tell Doug Savisen He also said he was “perplexed and upset that the museum would go to this stage in interpreting the past to the present.” This is a big mistake on the museum’s part. And with a nice new building, it’s hard to imagine that you could argue that you don’t have enough space. ”
On Monday, the museum’s outgoing director, Karin Hinsbo, who is Danish, appealed for damage control. She also declared that Krogh’s painting “has not been cancelled” and will be re-displayed near the museum’s entrance for at least the next four weeks.
“Krogh is one of the most influential artists in Norwegian art history,” Hinsbo added, highlighting that Krogh is on display along with 13 other paintings in the museum’s permanent collection. “We thought there were other works by Krogh that were more interesting to exhibit.” She defends the decision not to include them. Operation Leiv Eriksson America The works in that collection had been “carefully thought out” by the museum’s curators, who had to choose from around 400,000 works of art in the museum’s entire collection.
Meanwhile, Hinsbo announced in January that he would not extend his six-year contract as director of the National Museum. He is looking for a replacement when he resigned on June 1st.