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Bjarne Ness (1902-1927), Musikanten, 1927. (The Musician)

Purchased in 1928 from the commemorative in Trondhjems Kunstforening.

Among the many excellent artists from Trøndelag, Bjarne Ness is one of the greatest ones. Even if he died at the age of only 25, he succeeded in manifesting his talent, which was one of the greatest in the interwar period.

Bjarne Ness grew up in a typical working-class district at Lademoen in Trondheim, in a family of eight. While earning his living as a railway worker, he simultaneously studied to become an artist. From 1924 he studied under the painter Axel Revold and was said to be his best student. Revold had been in Paris where he had studied under Matisse, and he transmitted to his own students the Matisse school emphasis on colour and form. Ness let himself be inspired by Revold’s way of building colour in his paintings, but he also developed a clearly personal visual language.

Musikanten is painted in 1927, the last year that Ness lived, and is seen as his masterpiece. The significance of the motif is not known, but the factory chimney and the persons depicted show his link to the city and the working class. The painting displays all his distinctive features as far as composition and palette is concerned and is a good example of how Ness shaped his motifs by means of colour. 

In the course of the same year, Bjarne Ness’ great dream came true and he travelled to Paris. After just one month in the art metropolis he became ill from turberculosis and died. In spite of the fact that he also worked at the railway, he had an enormous artistic production. When he died, he left behind more than 1200 works, including sketches.

(..) Shortly afterwards, at a board meeting the 13th of January 1928, the chairman Vilhelm Moe announced that a large retrospective exhibition would be opened in the course of a few days. The press was good, and TKF bought «Musikanten» (The Musician), one of the pictures which most clearly shows his interest in the characteristics of the pictorial elements and combinatory possibilities and which at the same time expresses his personal palette.

From the 100 years jubilee book of Trondhjems Kunstforening, published in 1945. Musikanten by Bjarne Ness adorned the front cover of the book.