Folk art has been an integral part of the lives of people in the North from the earliest times. Prehistoric hunters cut their stories in stone, during the Bronze Age, they created stylized decorative objects, discovered on the Oseberg vessel from the Viking Age, excavated from silt, and medieval artisans built ornate stavkyrke with admirable religious dedication and fervor. Only in the 19th century, painting and sculpture began to be perceived as means of artistic expression in the minds of the Norwegians. The process of transforming the creative message took so long, in part because of the country's peripheral location, and partly also because, that Norwegian artists had to travel abroad, to get an education there. For these reasons, the unique artistic activity in Norway appeared very late.
The first highly acclaimed Norwegian painter was J.C.. Dahl, operating from the mid to the end of the 19th century, considered the father of Norwegian painting. Dahl introduced European romanticism to his interpretations of Norwegian landscapes. During this period, most Norwegian painters were influenced by the ideals of the schools in Duseldorf and Munich. At the end of the 19th century, thanks to Parisian realistic movements, realists appeared in Norway. Fortunately, most of the romantic painters of that period managed to avoid creating banal 'visions for tourists”, trying to present Norway's wonderful landscape from the point of view of its people.
Two of the most famous Norwegian visual artists, painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944) and sculptor Gustav Vigeland (1869-1943) during this time they created the main part of their works (more information about these artists see. box in the Oslo chapter). Their works, however, were better received abroad than at home, and had little influence on future artistic trends in Norway..
In the early years 20. the works of the impressionist Henri Matisse inspired several decorative artists. Axel Revold, Per Krohg and Alf Rolfsen soon became known as "brothers of the frescoes”. Another student of Matisse, Henrik Sorensen, unofficially he was the fourth member of this "club."”.
Representatives of cubism and constructivism in the interwar period were Ragnhild Keyser and Charlotte Wankel, and also Thordvald Hellesen, who chose France as his place of residence. In years 30. Surreal tendencies appeared in the works of Si-gurd Winge and Erik Johannessen. At the same time, the socialist Arne Ekeland is creating! monumental frescoes, which received little recognition because of his unpopular political views at the time.
The post-war years was a period of dominance of the motives of cloudy forests by Jakob Weidemann, constructivist painting by Gunnar S.. Gundersena i literalne (that is, non-figurative) sculptures by Arnold Haukeland and Ase Texmon Rygh.
In years 80. there has been an increase in interest in Norwegian art in the world. The Norwegian government has started funding art studies in Oslo, but also in Bergen and Trondheim. As in other developed countries, the modern art of this period has radically departed from the works of protest in the past 60. i 70. This decade, and also in years 90. the artistic community tends to naive representations and random color associations. Tore Hansen is the most prominent representative of the period. In his works, Bjorn Carlsen expresses a growing concern about the world's ecological imbalance. Many ordinary Norwegians diminish the value of this species, considering them "children's works” or imitating folk art, but international, more "magnanimous."” opinion appreciates them as "saturated with subtle humor”.
The best example of Norwegian art from years 90. are the works of the sculptor Bard Breivik, interested in the relationship between man and his tools, and Pera Inge Bjorlo, in woodcuts and linocuts in a primitive way depicting people and animals, as well as some high tech artists, who use computers to create works in the postmodern style. The reference to nature in art, which has a long tradition, has not weakened in Norway. So it is possible, that wild, open spaces in the future will continue to inspire artists.