I saw a listing for the current exhibit at the Lillehammer Art Museum (summer 2018) and was intrigued. I hadn't had this museum on my list of "must visit" before seeing the add for The Parisians pop up in my searches. The first thing that drew me in is the cover art they chose for the exhibition. The woman depicted has sort of a wtf look about her and her slack wrist hanging off the table sort of tells me she's at her end. I love the expression in the piece and the color of her dress is just amazing. So I clicked in to find more intriguing information.
The Parisians exhibit showcased the work of four Norwegian painters who studied at the seemingly short-lived Matisse school of art in Paris in the early 1900's. What? Wait. First, Matisse had an art school? Apparently, he did. Apparently it lasted for three years and about 100 students attended the school; 15 to 20 Norwegians amongst them. I had no idea. Second, I know nothing of Norwegian art and was super interested in finding out more about how Matisse would have influenced these artists.
And so it was, on a rather cloudy and rainy day in August, Zac and I decided to visit the Lillehammer Art Museum. We were feeling the need to see something inspiring and also just needed to get out of the house. One hour's drive north from our house sit found at the museum itself.
The outside of the building is quite interesting. Narrow vertical wood paneling covers curves that pull your eye around from one soft edge to the other. The front of the museum has a cube that's covered in scrunched aluminum (I think) and sort of looks like someone's been mussing with the sheets. I loved it. But then I went inside. The curves that seemed so amazing on the outside, just disoriented me on the inside. The main gallery is a huge open rounded space that I found terribly unsettling. The walls also seem to lean in a bit which makes the artwork hang off the walls ever so slightly. I don't know how many times I lost my balance while wandering around the upper and lower gallery space, but it wasn't until I was firmly within square walls that I found my footing again. The roundness just seemed like it wasted a lot of space.
The exhibit itself was interesting. I did wish for more information about the individual artists shown and why they chose to study with Matisse. You could definitely see the influence he had on these painters as you wandered the rooms. Of course, I had my favorites and others that I was sort of baffled by, but that's always the case. My favorite in this exhibit was Henrik Sørensen for his use of color, light and movement. These paintings just grabbed me in a way the others did not though I think I found at least one painting for each artist that I enjoyed.
Select pieces from The Parisians exhibit at the Lillehammer Museum:
Outside of this temporary exhibit, the Lillehammer Art Museum also showcases a selection from its permanent collection. It wasn't until this exhibit that I was drawn to Per Krohg; an artist featured in the Parisian exhibit as well. I don't recall if these were later works but the pieces shown exhibit a vast expanse of technique and style and just felt a little bit more baked.
The selected collection is heavy on the Norwegian artists and displayed according to artistic period. I think we went backwards in time as we made our way through the galleries but that was ok. There wasn't any real information on the periods being showcased or why it was important, which was a total bummer to me. I love having more context of the times and environment in which artists are working as I'm looking at their works.
Overall, I really enjoyed my time at the Lillehammer Art Museum and left feeling as if my eyes were treated to something really lovely. Nothing was too challenging or "out there" it was just a really sweet stroll through a little museum.