Per Krohg, Kamelenes ankomst til Nefta
Per Krohg, The Arrival of Camels to Nefta in Tunisia (1924) / Lillehammer Art Museum

The Parisians

Former exhibition

26 May – 30 September 2018

In the summer of 2018, Lillehammer Art Museum is showing a large exhibition with "The Parisians" Henrik Sørensen, Jean Heiberg, Axel Revold and Per Krohg.

These artists were pupils of the French painter Henri Matisse in Paris. The exhibition consists of around 100 works borrowed from art institutions from all over Scandinavia and from several private collectors.

Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse (1869 - 1954) is considered one of the 20th century's leading artists. From the autumn of 1908 and for just over three years, Matisse ran a painting school in Paris. During this period, around a hundred artists were under his tutelage, in one way or another. A total of 15-20 Norwegians visited the Académie Matisse. The most prominent were Jean Heiberg, Henrik Sørensen, Axel Revold and Per Krohg.

The teachings consisted of still life, croquis and act painting, and the correction from Matisse was consistently radical. Value painting was to give way to flat colour painting. Warm and cold colour surfaces, usually strong and unrealistic, were juxtaposed and often framed by a marked contour line. 

Matisse corrected two to three times a month, during which everyone stood arround to receive their "final verdict". Most was technically permissable, but not all innovations benefitted the overall impression. The painterly result never became completely abstract but gained an expressive character that initially attracted attention and criticism. 


At the Autumn Exhibition in 1909, Henrik Sørensen received enormous attention for his painting "Svartbekken", which was to be called the world's first expressionist painting by art critic Roger Fry. This was the prelude the "Matissians" or the "Parisians" as they were called, and marked the modernist breakthrough in Norway.

Painting Norwegian nature in the French manner

Unlike Per Krohg, who lived in Paris permanently, Jean Heiberg, Henrik Sørensen and Axel Revold travelled home in the early 1910s. While the Swedish Matisse students travelled home to convey modern society, the Norwegian artists painted Norwegian nature in the French manner. Unlike Matisse's students from other countries, the Norwegians distinguished themselves early on, both among viewers and a few, but wealthy, members of the public. 

Montparnasse in the 1920s

After the end of the first world war, the central Matisse students went back to Paris, where they again distinguished themselves in the large Scandinavian environment in Montparnasse in the 1920s. The four exhibitors developed and painted differently than under the direct influence of Acamdémie Matisse. The artistic expression was nevertheless radical and independent, and was characterised by contemporary, international trends. 

Curator: Svein Olav Hoff