Olaf Lange (1875 - 1965)

Power and Mythologies

02. Nov 2018 - 22. Apr 2019

Olaf Lange (1875—1965) was born in Stavanger and died in the city as well, but he spent most of his artistic career abroad.

Olaf Lange studied in Paris, at Académie Julien (1897—1901), and lived in Munich and Dachau from 1903 to 1943. His years there were interspersed with sojourns elsewhere. During World War I he lived in Copenhagen, and after being expelled from Germany in 1943, he returned to Norway. By this time he could look back on a career involving many international exhibitions and several years as the German correspondent for the newspaper Stavanger Aftenblad and other Norwegian and Swedish newspapers. Lange bequeathed several works and artist proofs to Stavanger Faste Galleri – the forerunner of Stavanger Art Museum.

It is with his colour etchings of typical Art Nouveau subjects and literary motifs that Lange made his most significant contribution to Norwegian art history. The subject matter includes, for instance, aquatic flora and fauna, butterflies and often ambiguous depictions of women: femme fatale, strong women, sensual and innocent types, also women who might be or are in bondage or suffering. The literary subjects are primarily drawn from the literature of Gustav Flaubert, but we also find references to Biblical texts and Indian sagas. The colour etchings are particularly influenced by a southern German Art Nouveau style, and by works by artists such as Max Klinger and Franz von Stuck.

The core of the exhibition will be colour etchings from 1904—1912, which will be presented thematically and in the context of works by other relevant artists. The exhibition will also present Lange’s large paintings of Art Nouveau subjects, urban themes, floral motifs and the unique collages he made in preparation for creating larger works. A special part of the exhibition will focus on the dramatic period in German history which Lange witnessed and on which he reported.

Olaf Lange made his debut in 1898 at Norway’s annual national autumn exhibition, Høstutstillingen in Oslo. Internationally, he exhibited at the Venice Biennial, the Salon in Paris, the Munich Secession, and at exhibitions in cities such as Rome, Brighton, Bremen, Dresden, Stuttgart, Leipzig and Dachau. At the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, he won an honorary medal for his prints.