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Gerhard Munthe (1849–1929) is one of the most unique and important artists within the Art Nouveau movement and a significant contributor to its international diversity. His radical, abstract style based partly on old Norwegian folk art is today considered a precursor of twentieth-century modernism. Among Munthe’s greatest achievements are his countless room decorations, of which the Holmenkollen Turisthotell (1896–98) in Oslo and Håkonshallen (1910–15) in Bergen are the most significant. A series of illustrations of old Norwegian ballads and fairy tales made in 1892–93 became the basis for a renewal of the decorative arts in Northern Europe, notably in the weaving industry. Munthe’s work as a designer covers most fields within the decorative arts: tapestries, carpets, furniture, stained glass, silver, porcelain, wallpaper, wrought iron, book bindings, fonts and ex libris. The publication offers a review of Gerhard Munthe’s proliferant production as a decorative artist and industrial designer, spanning almost thirty years.
Jan Kokkin, MA, University of Oslo, is former director of Kunst på Arbeidsplassen and art critic for the Norwegian newspapers Dagens Næringsliv and Morgenbladet. He has published biographies and books on several Norwegian nineteenth-century artists and is currently working as freelance curator, author and lecturer.
Exhibition: The National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo (NO), 8.6.–2.9.2018