Winter Night in Gallery finale

Norway’s national painting is the star of the last exhibit to run in current National Gallery building

National Gallery of Norway - Vinternatt

Photo: Public domain
“Winter Night in Rondane” oil painting by Norway’s Harald Sohlberg.

M. Michael Brady
Asker, Norway

The National Gallery of Norway’s ongoing finale exhibition is “Infinite Landscapes,” a concise collection of Harald Sohlberg’s most recognized paintings, including “Winter Night in Rondane,” regarded to be the country’s national painting. The Gallery, built in 1882 on Universitetsgata in downtown Oslo, has a comprehensive collection of Norwegian art, particularly works of the national romantic period.

The “Infinite Landscapes” exhibition opened Sept. 28, and will run through Jan. 13. More information on it is available on the English version of the Gallery’s website at There are several versions of “Winter Night in Rondane.” The final version that hangs in the National Gallery was painted for the “Centennial (of the Norwegian Constitution) Exhibition” held in 1914.

National Gallery of Norway - Harald Sohlberg

Photo: Public domain
“Self portrait, Paris, 1896” oil painting by Norway’s Harald Sohlberg.

Harald Sohlberg (1869-1935) was born and brought up in Kristiania (now Oslo). He studied art at the Art and Crafts School and the Academy in Kristiania and then went on to postgraduate art schooling in Paris and Weimar, Germany. According to Norsk Kunstnerleksikon (Norwegian Encyclopedia of Artists), Sohlberg classifies as a neo-romanticist, and the choice of “Winter Night in Rondane” as the country’s national painting resulted from a Norwegian broadcasting listener survey held in 1995.

After the “Infinite Landscapes” exhibition closes, some 53,000 works of art, the greater part of the collections held by the National Gallery, will be transferred to the new National Museum, which is now being built on the former rail yards of the Vestbanen railway station. The Vestbanen building now houses the Nobel Peace Center.

When it opens in 2020, the National Museum will be the largest art museum in the Nordic region. The National Gallery building then will be refurbished for a purpose yet to be determined. At this writing, the leading proposal calls for the University of Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History, to the northwest at the other end of the small Tullinløkka city park, to take over the building and incorporate it and the park into a city center of higher education.

This article originally appeared in the October 19, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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M. Michael Brady

M. Michael Brady was born, raised, and educated as a scientist in the United States. After relocating to the Oslo area, he turned to writing and translating. In Norway, he is now classified as a bilingual dual national.