Kragerø is referred to as "The gem among coastal cities" of Edvard Munch, Norway's most famous artist of all time.
The coastal area's unique light and the charming town with well-preserved ancient wooden buildings in the narrow streets and alleys has attracted and inspired many artist through a long time. Kragerø city is referred to as "The gem among coastal cities" of Edvard Munch. "This city should be painted," said Christian Krohg when he was visiting Kragerø.
Edvard Munch Norway's most famous artist of all time lived at Skrubben in Kragerø from 1909 to 1915. During his stay in Kragerø, Munch experienced one of his most intensely creative periods. It was here that he was inspired by the people and the scenery surrounding him, which lead to the creation of two of his main works, namely The Sun, and History.
In addition he spent time in Kragerø to paint a portion of his best portraits of friends and contacts in the art community. He also painted some pictures of Kragerø urban environment and the surrounding hills which had a very special place in his heart. Many believe that he had his heyday as a painter in Kragerø.
In the footsteps of Edvard Munch
You will find reproductions of his paintings/motifs from Kragerø on a singpostet route, called In the footsteps of Edvard Munch. The images, with an explanatory text about when and how they were created, show you the various locations where Munch painted his famous paintings. Some of these have remained unchanged since the days of Edvard Munch, but others are completely unrecognizable. Some of Munch´s artwork from this period, thererfore serves also as an important documentation of the local cultural history, such as The Yellow Log and Workers in Snow. The trail winds through streets and areas normally not visited by tourists, and this will give you a different perspective of the town. The whole route is approximately a one and a half hour walk including stops at the information boards. In summer you have the possibility to join an organized Munch-trip with a guide.
Kittelsenhuset, the birthplace of another famous norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen is a part of Telemark Museum. It is situated in the centre of Kragerø, among charming narrow streets and lanes - the way it also was over 150 years ago when Theodor Kittelsen was born in this house. Theodor Kittelsen is a norwegian artist known for his interpretation of mythical creatures fairytales, especially of trolls.
The house was built shortly after the cityfire in 1711, and was later rebuilt by John Kittelsen, father of Theodor Kittelsen. 2014 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of this artist's death and and the exhibitions text, images, audio and dioramas tells the story of his life and artistic career as a painter, woodcarver and author. The Kittelsen house also has a museum shop where you will find a number of books, prints and publications. Welcome to the house of Theodor Kittelsen!
There are currently many venues for the various art communities in Kragerø
Berg - Kragerø Museum, Skarbo Culturecenter, Gallery Løkkebakken, Gallery Nicolines House, Glasshytta, The Kittelsen House, Kragerø Library, the gallery of the Kragerø Art Association, Skåtøy Café and Gallery, the Lighthouse keeper's residence (Jomfruland exhibition) are examples of such arenas.
Near by the church you´ll find the Kragerø Artist Quarter. Here you can visit the ateliers of several artists such as Tone Ørvik or Thore Sveberg, and see glassblower Vigdis Helmersen in action at Helmersen Glass AS.
The Kragerø School of Art
In 2013 opened the Kragerø School of Art, a 2- year pre-school to higher education in art, design and architecture. This is the only art school in Norway with both hot and warm glass as part of the programme. This art school have a multi-disciplinary curriculum, with a variety of consecutive teaching modules in painting, sculpture, digital art, 3D-printing, design, glass art, ceramic, art history, photography, art exhibition and land-art. The school is in partnership with two universities in England that gives the students the option to get a Bachelor-degree in Fine Arts.