About Gallery Lofoten

Gallery Lofoten houses the biggest collection of North Norwegian paintings from around the turn of the last century, a period by many referred to as the Golden Age of North Norwegian painting.

On the ground floor of the gallery there is an ample collection of paintings by widely recognized artists such as Otto Sinding, Gunnar Berg, Even Ulving, Adelsteen Normann, Einar Berger, Ole Juul, Thorolf Holmboe and several others.

The first floor of the gallery is divided into two sections: a collection of watercolours by Lars Lerin and a section featuring pictures and ceramics by H.M. Queen Sonja.

Lars Lerin was born in Munkfors, Värmland in Sweden and today lives in Hammarø just outside Karlstad. He lived in Lofoten for several years and is one of the most widely acknowledged watercolour painters in the world. Lars Lerin is known for his unique technique, and has developed his own method of using colours. Grey, blue and ochre predominate in a variety of different shades, and nature is at the very heart of his work. He says himself that “it is actually light that is my motif.”

H.M. Queen Sonja’s life-long interest in art has resulted in her studying the history of art, gathering a comprehensive art collection and producing works of art of her own. The Queen has studied various techniques and worked under the guidance of a number of different artists. “Three Journeys, Three Landscapes” created together with Kjell Nupen and Ørnulf Opdahl in 2012 and “Texture” together with Magne Furuholmen in 2016, are two of her most significant art projects. The exhibition at Gallery Lofoten includes a number of works by H.M. Queen Sonja, where she employs various techniques such as lithography, monotype, etching, woodcut and aquatint. The exhibition also displays a varied selection of the Queen’s ceramic works.

In the gallery shop you will find an assortment of art books, postcards and posters featuring the artists whose works are on display there.

In the café you can enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese platter supplied by the local cheese factory at Aalan Gård. We also serve fresh coffee and ecological baking supplied by Unseld bakery.

A Brief Summary

What makes Gallery Lofoten’s collection so important in a regional and national context, is the fact that it includes a number of the paintings that were responsible for opening the eyes of Norwegians all over the country to the magnificent Lofoten countryside. Because, as I have stressed above, we see things through the images that surround us. In the 1700s, for instance, waterfalls were only of interest to those who could make use of them, in the running of a mill, for instance, or similar such things.

But when artists began painting waterfalls in the late 1700s and early 1800s, things changed. A painted waterfall cannot be used for anything other than to look at and admire. This led to people gradually considering waterfalls as phenomena with their own intrinsic value, without any thought of their potential usage. In short, waterfalls thus became an aesthetic phenomenon, and that is what has been the reasoning behind the various campaigns to save waterfalls that local and national authorities have wanted to develop for industrial purposes.

In this respect, art has far greater significance than one might imagine, and this also applies to paintings of Lofoten. The tourist industry which today is almost as lucrative for Lofoten as the fisheries, is primarily a result of the fact that the entire region has become aesthetically attractive due to the many paintings that have promoted its magnificent scenery – from Otto Sinding to Einar Berger. But there are also more recent examples, too, like the Swedish watercolour painter, Lars Lerin (1954 -) who, by way of his paintings of Lofoten, where he lived for no less than 12 years, has given us a completely different impression and a different understanding of this landscape.