The fine art museums of Norway have been joined by a new, ‘enlightened’ gallery in Oslo’s city center. “Galleri Polaris,” is an aptly named exhibit space in the trendy Aker Brygge waterfront area of the city. The new fine art gallery brings a subtle “Northern Light” to Oslo.
Located within the Felix Conference center, Polaris prominently features the evocative art of Kåre Tveter, widely-regarded as Norway’s “master of light.” The subtle hues of the high Arctic landscapes of Svalbard are a particular signature of Tveter’s watercolor and oil painting, along with interpretations of light in snowy forests and rural scenes in his native Hedmark.
Daily Scandinavian recently spoke with gallery owner and Oslo native Annette Bjørum Lynne about the gallery’s two featured painters, Tveter and Petar Tale, and the unique aspects of showing fine art in a combination conference center and cinema.
Petar Tale and Kåre Tveter – masters of light
“Light,” says Ms. Lynne, “is the common denominator for Galleri Polaris. The name itself reflects an aspect of Scandinavian culture – the connection to high polar regions, summer’s midnight sun, protracted polar night and the transitional play of growing or fading light as the seasons change.”
Artist Kåre Tveter (1922-2012) had his exceptionally sophisticated way of expressing emotions brought on by light playing on landscape scenes, as did his long-time colleague, Montenegro-born painter Petar Tale. “Both men shared an approach that light was the topic,” says Ms. Lynne, “like clothing draped over a manikin.”
Ms. Lynne noted that Tale first saw Tveter’s art in an exhibition at Gallery Haaken in Oslo in the 1980s. Tale, both artist and an established collector at the time, was immediately fascinated. The two men met the next day, and thus began decades of long collaboration. “We soon became good friends,” Tale has said, noting Tveter was a “relentless perfectionist. He would wreck nine out of ten works” that were not up to his high standards.
Uniquely, Tale was in a position of a younger man to mentor the older artist, and proudly witnessed Tveter’s accession to being named “master of light” and Svalbard’s number one painter. Tveter’s art is represented in various fine art galleries and museums, including the National Gallery of Norway and the Henie-Onstad Art Center. He is also part of Queen Sonja’s private collection and considered to be one of her favorite painters. “The two men referred to each other as artistic soulmates,” says Ms. Lynne, “and they had a studio together in Lillestrøm outside Oslo in the 80s and 90s. The works of Tale and Tveter will be a prevailing part of the future exhibitions in Galleri Polaris, but we will gradually expand, starting with Bjørn Ransve, one of Norway’s most famous contemporary artists.”
Related: Norway’s First Cubist Painter
Passion for light
Perhaps not so coincidentally, the collaboration between Ms. Lynne and artist Tale began with the opening of a door to where the gallery now resides. Tale, now 72, was struggling to move some of his own paintings on a trolley through the main entrance to the Felix Conference Center at Aker Brygge. She offered to keep the door open for him, leading to a conversation “which shed some light on common interests”, she laughs. The two kept in touch and the idea of Galleri Polaris was born.
Petar Tale settled in Norway in 1977 and has since then produced an impressive number of drawings and paintings. In fact, more than 12,000 pieces are signed by him. “Tale’s passion for light is always evident,” wrote his biographer Janet Wilson. “Though his light is certainly revelatory the light he creates, while bearing resemblance to actuality, is an ‘inner’ light which is ultimately more concerned with the revelation of thought or feelings, often both.”
Whether his subjects are architectural, floral, landscape, or human, Tale is able to infuse his art with light and mystery.
Petar Tale has also been an avid collector of original paper-works by master of fine art since the age of 20. His collection features iconic works by Picasso, Matisse, Chagall, Miró, Braque, Giacometti, Bonnard, Tàpies, Vasarely, Matta and Klee. Thanks to the collaboration with Petar Tale and Tale Art Museum many of these artists’ works will also be on display in Galleri Polaris.
Light has also been an important part in Annette Lynne’s life. Stella Polaris has always been her favorite and symbolic star. “Light gives me positive energy,” she says and those who know her agree there’s lot of light inside her that radiates outward. (She was nicknamed «Miss Sunshine» by former co-workers.)
In a way, that same light literarily opened doors when she helped Mr. Tale pass through the main entrance to Felix conference center with his trolley. “Coincidences are not always coincidences,” she notes.
Annette, as she prefers to be addressed, is by background a professional career advisor, and freely admits she lacks a formal art background. Tale’s knowledge and warm, supportive collaboration helps her administer the gallery, while running it as independently as possible. “I have to be myself,” says Annette.
New Fine Art Gallery Brings a Subtle “Northern Light” to Oslo
To open a new gallery is an almost Sisyphean task, particularly so for a neophyte. However, the location at Aker Brygge near the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, and the new National Museum (opening 2022), is ideal for positioning two internationally acclaimed Norwegian masters of light. Additionally, there are the obvious benefits to exhibiting art works in an upscale, corporate conference center.
“We are very excited about this cooperation,” says Jørn Bertheussen, CEO and owner of Felix Conference Center, where selected pieces from Tale’s collection were previously displayed. Ms. Lynne adds, “We are proud to exhibit artwork by outstanding contemporary artists. Our intention is to create a new kind of gallery in a completely new setting… I will cite Vincent van Gogh: ‘Great things are not made by impulse, but a series of small things brought together.’ “
Galleri Polaris opened on November 1, 2019 and the current Kåre Tveter exhibition will be on show until Christmas.
Feature image (on top): Gallery owner Annette B. Lynne at Galleri Polaris. Photo: Tor Kjolberg
New Fine Art Gallery Brings a Subtle “Northern Light” to Oslo: Ms. Annette Bjørum Lynne was interviewed by Tor Kjolberg prior to the opening.