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    Trondheim kunstmuseum

Adolf Tidemand Norsk juleskik, 1846 (Norwegian Christmas Customs)

Aquried with means from Brændevinssamlaget in 1867.

The idea of Det faste galleri (i.e. The Permant Gallery) manifested itself already when Trondhjems Kunstforening (TKF) was founded in 1845. In the invitation to take part in the foundation of TKF, it was suggested that a certain number of artworks be set aside every year to build a permanent art collection. These works would then hopefully constitute the basis for a future art museum. For reasons unknown, these suggestions were not included in TKF’s foundation statutes. The idea of a permanent art collection was aired once again in 1864, when the general assembly decided that 10 % of the yearly income of the association be set aside for this purpose. As a direct consequence of this decision, Adolph Tidemand’s (1814−1876) Norsk juleskikk (Norwegian Christmas Customs) (1846) was acquired for the sum of 800 Norwegian crowns in 1867, the very first artwork to be bought for Det faste galleri collection.

In this painting of modest size the pictorial space is packed with people who perform different tasks, all dressed in Norwegian national costumes. The store house is the centre of attention, and on the roof a sheaf is hoisted into the air, a Norwegian Christmas custom. The motif is idealised; we see how the snow on the steps in front of the store house and the farm yard is lighted as with a spotlight. White as chalk and pristine, showing no traces of all the other Christmas preparations and activities that we also see in the picture. The purchase turned out to be a success, as the painting has become a romantic nationalist icon in Norwegian art history.