Photo: Ann Kristin Eggen/Maihaugen
STEINLEN: Paris–Aulestad RT
In the summer of 1901, the Swiss/French painter Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859–1923) visited Aulestad in Gausdal.
He was a guest of Karoline and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson from July to October. During this summer and fall, he painted and drew several works and sent daily postcards to Paris, to his 12-year-old daughter Colette. The trip to Norway was Steinlen's only long foreign journey, and it is a little-known chapter in his biography.
At Aulestad, Steinlen left behind a landscape painting of the neighboring farm Nedre Langseth, a portrait of Dagny Bjørnson Langen, and he decorated the fireplace with cats. The cat motif is perhaps what most people associate with Steinlen today, the Chat Noir cat he painted for the cabaret on Montmartre in Paris in 1896.
The exhibition "Steinlen: Paris – Aulestad RT" is opening at Maihaugen on May 26, has followed in Steinlen's footsteps. We have been granted access to the unique postcard collection where he conveyed his impressions from Norway to his daughter. During the four months Steinlen was in Norway, he painted portraits and landscapes. Most of this he took back to Paris, and it is now located in museums and with private collectors. We have traced some of what he painted in Norway, and for the first time in over a hundred years, it returns to the area where it was painted.
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