Exhibition: Bergen Painters in Paris 1920

Until 29 May at KODE 1:

"La Vie Moderne: Bergen Painters in Paris 1920" is an intimate exhibition curated by Professor of art history Gunnar Danbolt, where we are transported to Paris and Bergen around the beginning of the 1920s.

In the first few decades of the 20th century, the art scene in Bergen was dominated by two artists – Nikolai Astrup and Bernt Tunold. The artists who came after them first followed in their footsteps, but then, around 1920, headed to Paris, the city that dominated the art world at the time. 

There, one artist in particular, André Lhôte (1885– 1962), was a magnet for young painters. Seven artists from Bergen studied under Lhôte in Paris, and all of them would later make their mark on the city’s art scene in the interwar years.

This applies in particular to the artist often referred to as the leader of the Bergen School, Nils Krantz. He is therefore the central artist in the exhibition, surrounded by the artistic circle, both women and men, he had around him in interwar Bergen.  

A new style

In Lhôte's studio, the Bergen painters were given an introduction to the new cubist style, although in a more moderate version than that pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Motifs could now be recognisable but in a modern, cubist form. 

Also in Paris, where Nils Krantz' good friend and fellow artist Leon Aurdal. They were both strongly influenced by Lhôte, but then their paths diverged. Krantz went back to Bergen and continued to paint in the Lhôte style for the rest of his life, while Aurdal returned to Oslo and gradually changed his style to what became the norm in Norway’s capital, a style inspired by Henri Matisse. 

These students of Matisse were primarily concerned with colour and with taking what was referred to as a ‘national approach to colour’. Seen from Oslo, the devotees of Lhôte in Bergen were stuck in a style that would soon be outdated. When they exhibited in Oslo, their work was heavily criticised. But why? Today, the students of both Matisse and Lhôte belong firmly in the past, which means that we can now take a fresh look at art in Bergen in the interwar years. 

For this exhibition KODE has made a number of acquisitions to improve the collection related to this important period in Bergen’s history.

Practical information 

The exhibition is located on the third floor in KODE 1. 

Exhibition period: November 12th, 2021 – March 2022 

  • 12 Nov 2021 to 29 May 2022
  • Kode 2
  • 150/100/0 *

* Adults: NOK 150, Students: NOK 100, Free admission for children and KODE members. The ticket gives admission to all exhibitions at KODE.