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- Voss, 7. Juni 2005. -
- Voss, 7. Juni 2005. -

- Bergsliparken, 7. Juni 2005, 11:03, +12C-


THE BERGSLIEN ARTISTS

The path-breaking cotter boys of
Norwegian national art
The three artists Knud, Brynjulf and Nils Bergslien
were all born and raised in Voss. They are well
known at home as well as abroad, and a number
of their works have become national symbols.

The painter Knud Bergslien (1827 - 1908)
Knud Bergslien enlisted the army when he was 18 years old, but his unusual gift for drawing was soon noticed. After having been a student at the artist Hans Reusch' school of drawing in Bergen, he continued his studies abroad in Antwerp and Paris. From 1855 to 1869 he worked in Dusseldorf. He then moved back to Norway, and from 1871 on he ran the Bergslien School of Painting in Kristiania (Oslo) together with Morten Muller. A whole generation of Norwegian painters became his students, among them Harriet Backer and Edvard Munch. Knud belonged to the Diisseldorf school and was a close friend of the artists Adolph Tidemand and Hans Gude. With Knud's help Tidemand found some of his best models for portraits of peasants in Voss. Today, Knud is best known for his historical paintings. Among his many pieces of work, particular attention should be paid to the national icon Skiing Birchlegs Crossing the Mountain with the Royal Child (Birkebeinerne på Ski over Fjeldet med Kongsbarnet) from 1869, King Sverre in the Mountains of Voss (Kong Sverre på Vossefjeldene), and the painting for which he received the Wasa order: The Crowning of King Oscar II in the Nidaros Cathedral (Kong Oscar II's kroning i Nidarosdomen). It was, however, as a portrait painter and drawing master he made his greatest achievements.

The sculptor Brynjulf Bergslien (1830 - 1898)
Even as a child Brynjulf Bergslien received training in piston cutting from his maternal uncle, the outstanding cartographer Aad Gjelle. At 18 he became an engraver apprentice with the goldsmith Jacob Tostrup in Kristiania (Oslo). This lead him on to the Academy of Art in Copenhagen, and for 9 years he worked with some of the leading sculptors there. After several periods of studies in other European countries he returned to Norway and Kristiania in 1861 to settle down and have a family. In 1864 he was granted an artists' scholarship, and in 1868 he won the first national contest ever for a Norwegian monument: the bronze equestrian statue of King Carl Johan, which was unveiled at the Royal Palace Square in Kristiania in 1875.
This made Brynjulf a renowned sculptor. His works are numerous, among others he created the monuments of Henrik Wergeland, Peter Chr. Asbjørnsen and Johannes Brun. Still, the Carl Johan statue remains his major piece of work Also Brynjulf gave lessons, and he was Gustav Vigeland's first tutor. In private life he was a lively and sociable person with many friends, familiar with artist life in Kristiania and a devoted member of the Artists' Association.

The painter Nils Bergslien (1853 - 1928)

Nils Bergsliens artistic talent was evident already in his childhood, and his father's brothers Knud and Brynjulf both encouraged him to go for their branch of art. He settled on painting, and at 16 he left for his uncle's painting academy in Kristiania to commence his education as an artist. He later studied in Munich, Dresden and Vienna. At this point he spent much time with the painter Christian Skredsvig, who later described Nils in one of his books. After having returned to Norway, he worked for some years in Kristiania. Then, in the early 1880s he left for Hardanger, married and settled in Eidfjord where he stayed until he died. Nils had an extensive production of paintings with exuberant and humorous depictions of everyday life and loving couples as well as nymphs and gremlins - and the beautiful scenery of Western Norway. His greatest talent was for scenery and portraits, but the folklore motifs were no doubt the most remunerative ones. His gift for sculpturing is evident in his monument Ola Mosafinn and the Voss wedding procession on horseback and the reliefs for the monument in the Bergslien Park in Voss.

Kjelde (Source): The Bergslien track, Stiftinga BERGSLIMINNE.
2005 ©  Svein Ulvund www.vossnow.net
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