Rondane and Harald Sohlberg

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View across the lake Atnsjøen towards the mountains Rondane from the Sohlberg (concrete) Platform.

Winter night in the mountains

The painter Harald Sohlberg (1869–1935) spent the Easter skiing holidays here in 1899. Seeing those mountains he immediately decided to paint them. The next year he came back and the first version of 'Winter Night in the Mountains' was finished in 1901. During the years 1911–14 he painted the second version, the one shown here. This dark (and cold!) painting, hanging in the National Gallery in Oslo, is the unofficial "National Painting of Norway". Sohlberg himself was never satisfied with the painting and made a third version in the period 1918–1924, this time with a red fox in the foreground. (He also made 250 lithograph prints similar to the 1914 version (but smaller), 'Winter Night in Rondane', finished in 1917.)

The Sohlberg Platform on the roadside was designed by Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk (1958–) and opened in the autumn 2005. Sohlberg probably came here too, studying the mountains, but his main position was a little further north (right) and up the hillside. A few years ago I tried to find his original positions, but all I could see was the pine trees that have grown up during the passed hundred years. So instead of building a new road up the hillside and clearing forest, they built the platform close to the existing road. Because of the lake this view is actually nicer than the 'correct' one, but observing that Sohlberg evidently loved semi-symmetry, for example the 'small' peak (Nordre Smedhamrin, 1898 m) between the two mountains is definitely too far off center on the photo.


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