Bridgeman Images is celebrating its partnership with O. Væring, the Oslo-based art photography agency making the work of some of the greatest artists from Norway available around the world.
Bridgeman Images is proudly partnered with O. Væring, a Norwegian photography company with a legacy that spans over two centuries. Set up in 1863, the company is at the heart of the Norwegian art world, and is replete with reproductions of incredible artworks by Norwegian and international artists.
Today the archive contains an impressive two hundred thousand and more photographs with between forty to fifty thousand by individual Norwegian artists.
In addition to portraiture and landscape paintings, the works in the archive include subjects centering on historical motifs, and legends local to Norway and the Scandinavian tradition; many of these works were created by established and seminal artists such as Edvard Munch, Theodor Kittelsen and Nils Bergslien.
History of O. Væring
Beginning over one hundred and fifty years ago, the company has photographed numerous artists in private and public collections, gathering a wide range of material mostly consisting of black & white, and color negatives, as well as color transparencies.
Most recently the company has focused its efforts on digitizing its unique and spectacular images in its inventory, making them more accessible to publishers and clients, whilst enhancing their quality.
The company began with the efforts of Olaf Martin Peder Væring in 1863. After a short swapping of locations, Olaf decided to base the company in Kristiania, nowadays Oslo.
To begin with Olaf specialized in art photography and photographed the Gokstad ship- the largest preserved Viking ship from the 9th century- for the university of Antiquities, and ran an art publishing house.
Olaf and the company worked closely with artists, collectors, and publishers, developing strong attachments, commercially and personally. Driven by their interest and love for art, Olaf and the first photographers saw how their work would influence later generations.
Considering this, they became concerned with collecting and preserving art they thought would be of historical value. Along with this awareness, Olaf’s genial approach and commitment to the artists, meant he was well respected and admired among the art community, receiving praise from an array of Norway’s leading art figures including Edvard Munch.
This cultural awareness laid the foundations of the company and drew the template it would follow for the future. When Olaf died in 1906, the company eventually fell into the hands of his grandson Ragnvald Væring, who managed to maintain the close relationships between the company and the artists, notably growing a strong friendship with Munch. This friendship lead to Ragnvald publishing a book on the Munch's enigmatic and exquisite self-portraits.
Then in 1959 the company was brought by Per Petersson, a talented and dedicated photographer who started as an intern for the company. Per carried on developing the archive, working with many of the major exhibitions in his lifetime, and often without payment.
After Per left the company in 2000 his vision and love passed on to his daughter Ingrid Petersson Nørstenæs, who has focused on digitizing the unique images in the archive- making them more accessible than ever, whilst ensuring their preservation and quality.
Below are a few standout artists in the O. Vaering collection:
One of the most famous artists in the world, Munch developed a style truly individual which has inspired millions in Norway and internationally. Munch was born in 1863 and classed his expressionistic style as “soul painting”, for within his art he aimed to: ‘study the soul, that is to say study my own self’.
Attempting to explore the regions of his mind and emotional condition, many of Munch’s paintings are concerned with depicting shifting and unstable psychological states and inspire as much wonder as they do terror. As discussed, Munch had a close friendship with both Olaf and Ragnvald, meaning the archive holds a number of beautiful and impressive reproductions of his captivating work.
Another one of Norway’s most popular artists, Kittelsen was born in 1857 and became well known for his depictions of nature and illustrations of fairy tales and legends. His style had elements of Neo-Romanticism and Naïve painting, focusing on nature and subjects from Scandinavian folklore.
Kittelsen’s paintings have a dreamlike quality and often center on imaginative beings and trolls.
Born in 1831, Arbo was a Norwegian historical painter who specialized in portraits and painting allegorical scenes of Norwegian history and Norse mythology. In his time Arbo was admired for his masterful work and academic approach, often being associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting. Arbo's paintings are loaded with energy and detail, vividly bringing to life the scenes they are depicting.
Discover the images from the O. Vaering collection here
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