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Gustav Vigeland 150th Anniversary - Set

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  • 11.04.2019
About Gustav Vigeland 150th Anniversary

The 214 sculptures in the Frogner Park in Oslo have made Gustav Vigeland Norway’s most famous sculptor.

Gustav Vigeland’s talent for both drawing and wood carving was discovered early. Vigeland’s oldest works still in existence are an acanthus pattern and dragon heads that he carved when he was between ten and twelve years old.

In the autumn of 1888, Gustav Vigeland travelled to Kristiania (Oslo) and tried to live as a wood carver. This was not an easy life. One morning, after he had slept outdoors, he turned to sculptor Brynjulf Bergslien for help. Bergslien was impressed by Vigeland’s drawings and contacted art historian Lorentz Dietrichson. Dietrichson paid for schooling for both Vigeland and several other artists. Bergslien taught Vigeland as well.

In 1889 at the age of 20, Vigeland debuted at the Norwegian State Exhibition with the classically inspired sculpture Hagar and Ismael. After receiving several state grants over the next few years, Vigeland was able to study in Copenhagen and embark on study trips. In Paris he met sculptor Auguste Rodin, who inspired him to use erotic motifs.

By around 1900 Vigeland had created a name for himself, and when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 1902, the medal that was handed out was designed by Vigeland. He also won the prestigious competition to create a statue of mathematician Niels Henrik Abel.

Vigeland’s first monument for the Frogner Park was a magnificent fountain. The sculpture area in the Frogner Park covers 80 acres (320,000 m2) and features 214 bronze and granite sculptures, all designed by Gustav Vigeland.