Text in English
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Jørleif Uthaug, sculptor, painter, and graphic artist, (1911-90) was a spearhead and trail blazer in modernistic abstract art in Norway. He created works of art for cruise liners, hotels, schools, municipality buildings, in materials as varied as stone, wood and glass mosaics, steel, brass, iron and canvases of various sizes. His largest mural, "People on a beach" in Tromsø measures 10 metres x 3 metres, and is the principle work of art in the chamber of representatives in Tromsø's County Hall. (Fylkesbygget). It is also one of the largest artworks in Norway. Other Uthaug landmarks are "The wave, Amphitrite and the seabirds", a 3,5 meter high steel sculpture in Porsgrunn, south of Oslo. This is a unique combination of abstract form and figurative elements, the form being the wave itself, balancing the sea goddess on its peak. It is a great feet of engineering as well as a fascinating work of art. For Mandal, a small coastal town in the very southern tip of Norway, Uthaug created a massive steel ring , "Expansion" with penetrating elements, considered to be a major nonfigurative sculpture in Norway. In Oslo Uthaug's sculpture "Halberd (Hellebard)" is situated on the circular road, at Sogn, Ullevål. In Drammen, near Oslo, Uthaug has decorated the Law Courts building with a figure of Justice, "Justicia", executed in enammelled copper, measuring 6 meters in hight. His last work was a beautiful alterpiece, created for a small church in the fiordland in the Western part of Norway, with the ascending Christ, and Jerusalem in the background. It is appropiately called "Christ's ascension and Jerusalem". Uthaug executed more than forty monuments in all. One of his major works, "Vital Movement", a relief-inspired sculpture in brass, (3x1,5 meters) is placed in the boardroom at K. Mart corporation in Troy, on the outskirts of Detroit, USA. Uthaug held a number of major exhibitons, including a highly succesful and acclaimed one-man-show consisting of crude iron sculptures and brightly coloured paitings in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, and in 1968 an exhibition of iron sculptures and mosaic reliefs in Sears Vincent Price gallery, Chicago, which ultimately lead to his commission in Detroit. Uthaug could have chosen a career as a highly succesful international artist based in England or the US, but he decided to concentrate working in Norway. He won a number of competitions, one of them resulting in the Porgrunn maritime monument, the sculpture of the wave and the seagodess. In addition to being very much in demand by architects, Uthaug was also employed by ship's interior designers. He excecuted a number of artworks for Norwegian merchant ships, including major murals for the Vistafjord (Now Cunard Line), the brightly polished brass reliefs six seaman's knots for Royal Viking Sky of the Royal Viking Line, and three commissions based upon Norse mythology and the history of the Vikings for ships of the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines - Song of Norway, Sovereign of the Seas and Nordic Empress. His last commission was for Nordic Empress, where he executed a brass mural, "The crowning of a Viking Prince". Uthaug was also highly sought after as a bookdesigner. Four of his graphic works of art, including "Eve", "Fishing fleet", "The newspaper boy" and "Two people" were included in the exhibition of modern Scandinavian prints,in the British Museum and were bought by the British Museum. In Norway major exhibitions include his one-man show at the Artist’s House, Oslo showing his latest sculptures and reliefs, his big retrospective exhibition at Gallery F15 Jeløy in 1981 and the exhibition in 1997 at Gallery Steen in Oslo. There are two major books about the artist: The biography by art critic Øistein Parman. Jørleif Uthaug – primitive, refined, robust and a lover of the beautiful. And Jorleif Uthaug, for the Steen exhibition. Although the emphasis has tended to be on Uthaug as a monumental artist and sculptor, he was also an accopmplished painter, both in his figurative period (the fifties), in his experimental period in the sixties where he left figutrative art altogether, and his return to figurative art in the eighties. In his later years he also took up water colours and achieved mastery in this field, exhibiting his watercolours of landscapes all over Norway. Recently, a mosaic work by Uthaug, a reclining woman, in brass and glass was bought at an auction by the Norwegian Foreign Office and is will be permanenely placed in the Norwegian Embassy in Mexico. See Uthaug's paintings graphic art monumental art main commissions.
Where are Uthaug’s major works situated? (map of Norway)