Kitty Kielland, Torvmyr (1901). The National Museum

Open Air – Kitty L. Kielland

Former exhibition

18 November 2017 – 29 April 2018

On November 18th, Lillehammer Art Museum opened the most comprehensive exhibition of Kitty L. Kielland's work to date. The exhibition "Open Air" consists of over 100 works borrowed from a number of art institutions and private collectors.

Kitty Kielland (1843-1914) occupied the male space as a professional landscape painter and a social debater. She became a natural impact on the national narrative, which until then had solely been constructed by men. This exhibition highlights an artistry that has received far too little attention in Norwegian Art History.

Kielland was a pioneer. As one of the first Norwegian artists, she brought with her impulses from French 1880s painting and introduced neo-romanticism to Norway. She was a constantly exploring artist, who was not afraid to experiment with new motifs and painting methods. This exhibition shows a wide selection of images from throughout her career, in addition there are works by artists Kielland was inspired by or worked with, such as Lars Hertevig, Hans Gude, Harriet Backer and Eilif Peterssen.

The windswept landscape and the Norwegian high mountains

Kielland was the first artist to explore the windswept landcsape on Jæren in the south-west of Norway. Later she painted from eastern part of the country and helped introduce neo-romanticism to Norway. It is less known that she also painted from the Norwegian high mountains.

Fri luft

The title «Fri luft» / «Open Air» refers both to Kielland's use of the most modern painting technique of the time, plein air painting, and to her involvement in the social debate. She was a pioneer in the field of painting, but few know her as a committed and outspoken social debater. She published several newspaper articles, literary pieces and fiction texts on art, morality and women's issues. With surprising topicality, we find echoes of Kielland's arguments in today's equality debate. Freedom and truth were demands she set, not only in art but life in general.

Love and friendship

Kielland shared a home and studio with fellow artist Harriet Backer (1845-1932) for around 40 years. The public and critics are left to wonder whether their relationship was one of love or simply friendship. This is one of the themes dealt with in the exhibition.

Explore the past with the eyes of the future

See Holo Kitty, a part of the exhibition ‘Open Air – Kitty L. Kielland’. Holo Kitty is the country's first commercial production of a living hologram of Kitty L. Kielland in 1:1 ratio. Here she is working on the painting "Interior" with the painter Annette Anker. Several of her most famous paintings have also been brought to life by adding sound and subtly animated elements to the images. Move around Kitty Kielland or view the paintings by borrowing an iPad, available in the exhibition.

This technology is ground-breaking and is being done for the first time with an iPad in connection with an art exhibition. It is made possible with the technology from Hey-Ho Let’s Go and Apple's new operating system, iOS 11.


The main curator for this exhibition is Inger M. L. Gudmundson, conservator at Stavanger Art Museum/MUST. In the prosject group: Tone Nyaas Lyngstad, conservator at Haugar Vestfold Art Museum and Janeke Meyer Utne, conservator at Lillehammer Art Museum. The exhibition has been shown in Stavanger Art Museum and will continue on tour to Haugar Vestfold Art Museum (26 May – 16 September 2018).