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Johs (Johannes) Rian (1891-1981) Woman with a Cello, 1950

Purchased at an exhibition with money fromHannah and Hans Ryggen’s Gift

Whereas many painters start their professional career early, Johs Rian took his time before he decided to become a professional artist. At the age of 37, with a background as a farmer in Overhalla and a violinist, he finally started his art education at the academy in Oslo as one of Axel Revold’s students. Revold and Henrik Sørensen, who had both studied under Matisse in Paris, made a considerable impact on Rian’s artistic development.

For a period of time the colourist Rian painted figurative motifs, before he went on to make non-figurative works.Woman with a Cellois one of his principal works from the figurative period. In this painting, which bears testimony to Rian’s stringent experimentation with elements that create a sense of space and movement, the colour fields on the surface interact rhythmically. The influence from Matisse is evident, yet it also points the way to Rian’s non-figurative pictorial language.

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