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Henrik Sørensen (1882-1963) Against War and Revolution, 1915

Gift 1983 from Trygve and Julie Ananda Sivertsen

An urban motif, contorted and in flames is depicted in Henrik Sørensen’s painting from 1915. The picture shows a street on the verge of being destroyed by war. The motif is not site spesific and in principle it might be from any city. Buildings and houses are on fire and explosions light up the sky. Everything seems twisted and askew which gives the viewer an almost surrealistic experience. The vivid colours emphasises the dream-like quality of the image and causes a sense of discomfort. Henrik Sørensen was a very politically conscious person and throughout his life he was an idealist and pasifist, strongly opposed to all kinds of physical violence.

Henrik Sørensen was one of several Norwegian artists who studied under the French modernist painter Henri Matisse. The influence of the master in Paris was brought along when they returned to Norway and developed further. Even if he is often mentioned in connection with the Matisse pupils, Sørensen explored many different styles of painting: Romantic landscapes, symbolist and subsequently expressionist and surrealist paintings. This painting belongs to the two latter styles, and one can almost feel the fear and despation in this urban motif.

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