A unique art experience in New York

The Seamen’s Church offers an exclusive fundraising auction online

Photo courtesy of the Trygve Lie Gallery
“Inne i fjorden,” 1967 lithograph by Reidar Fritzvold, at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in New York.

Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American

On lookout for art in New York City, there are hundreds of galleries to explore, and sometimes there are treasures to be found where they might least be expected. One of these places is the Trygve Lie Gallery, located in the basement of the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in mid-Manhattan.

The Norwegian Seamen’s Church in New York (Sjømannskirken i New York) at 317 East 52nd Street is a Lutheran church originally set up to serve Norwegian sailors, as well as Norwegians living in New York and visitors from around the county and the world. It is part of the Norwegian Church Abroad, with its headquarters in Bergen. In New York, Sjømannskirken not only serves as a church with Sunday services in the Norwegian language, but is also an active cultural center. 


Rosseland - Eirik leaves for Greenland

Photo courtesy of the Trygve Lie Gallery
“Eirik leaves for Greenland,” from “The Vinland Saga,” by Jarle Rosseland, at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in New York.

Recently, I had the occasion to visit at the Seamen’s Church for a couple of days, which gave met the opportunity to explore what the Seamen’s Church as to offer. I loved the fresh waffles served every day, but, with contest, the highlight was the Trgyve Lie Gallery. Established in 2003 to contribute to the promotion of Norwegian, Norwegian-American, and Scandinavian art to a broad audience in the city of New York, it is a very special place. In addition to exhibiting art and documentary projects, the space is used for recitals (with an excellent piano), conferences, and performances.

A new exhibit was preparing to open while I was there, so I was able to immerse myself in a special art experience, which is also a unique opportunity that I can share with our readers. On Oct. 23, the works of 40 famous Norwegian artists were put on display for an opening reception for a silent auction open to the public online worldwide.

The exhibit showcases pieces by highly recognized artists, including Håkon Bleken, Ørnulf Opdahl, Reidar Fritzvold, Jarle Rosseland, Dag Alveng, Eystein Sigurdsson, Knut Rose, Vilhelm Tveteraas, and Alf Trana. Many of these artists are on display in the National Gallery of Norway.


Photo courtesy of the Trygve Lie Gallery
”Fra Rosmersholm,” 1987l lithograph Ørnulf Opdahl, ed. 160, signed and numbered, at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in New York.

Most notable is the “Ibsen Series,” a set of lithographs by Bleken, Rose, and Opdahl that depict characters from the famous plays Hedda Gabler, Ghosts, and Rosmersholm, respectively. They may be purchased separately or as a series, a unique opportunity for individuals and collectors.

The silent auction represents a unique opportunity for art lovers and supporters of the New York Seamen’s Church. All of the artwork has been donated, and 100% of the proceeds will go to the church. 

To view the auction art online, visit www.sjomannskirken.no/kirke/new-york/vaare-aktiviteter/silent-auction. There is a complete catalog available for download, which includes the minimum bid prices. Bids must be placed in U.S. dollars and are binding.  If you are in New York City, you can simply drop by the gallery when the church is open to see the artwork in person: it’s well worth a trip. 

The auction will close on Dec. 24, offering you a one-of-kind chance to get something very special for Christmas and to support Sjømannskirken and our rich Norwegian cultural heritage.

This article originally appeared in the November 15, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Lori Ann Reinhall

Lori Ann Reinhall, editor-in-chief of The Norwegian American, is a multilingual journalist and cultural ambassador based in Seattle. She is the president of the Seattle-Bergen Sister City Association, and she serves on the boards of several Nordic organizations.