Lars Hertervig

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Portrait of Lars Hertervig by Niels Bjørnsen Møller, 1851.
Skogtjern (Forest Lake). Oil on canvas, 1865.

Lars Hertervig (16 February 1830 – 6 January 1902) was a Norwegian painter. His semi-fantastical work with motives from the coastal landscape in the traditional district of Ryfylke is regarded as one of the peaks of Norwegian painting.

Life and career[edit]

Lars Hertervig was born in 1830 at Borgøy, in the municipality Tysvær in Norway, from which the family name derives, on the west coast of Norway, north of Stavanger. His family were poor, Quaker farmers. Hertervig studied painting at the Arts Academy of Düsseldorf from 1852, as the private pupil of Hans Gude. He is associated with the Düsseldorf school of painting. In 1854, he experienced a temporary mental breakdown, and moved back to the Stavanger area. In October 1856, Hertervig entered Gaustad asylum.[1]

His last 30 years he struggled financially, and finally ended up at the poorhouse. He could not afford to paint with oil on canvas, and several works from this period are watercolors and gouache on paper not meant for painting, sometimes using bits of papers glued together with homemade rye flour paste.

He died at Stavanger. His breakthrough came at the Jubilee Exhibition in Kristiania (now Oslo) in 1914, twelve years after his death.

Jon Fosse created an homage to Hertervig with his 1995 novel Melancholia I, and also wrote the libretto for Georg Friedrich Haas's opera adaptation Melancholia which premiered at the Opera Garnier in Paris on 9 June 2008 on stage by Stanislas Nordey (Lawrence Olivier Award 2008 for a new opera) and costumes of Raoul Fernandez.


  1. ^ From darkness into light--the legacy of Lars Hertervig (CBS Interactive Inc.) [1]

Other sources[edit]

  • Borgen, Trond. Et indre eksil : et essay om Lars Hertervigs papirarbeider. Wigestrand, 2005. ISBN 82-8140-027-7
  • Lars Hertervig : fragmenter : arbeider på papir 1868-1902. Labyrinth, 2005. (Exhibition catalog). ISBN 978-82-7393-031-6
  • Koefoed, Holger. Lars Hertervig : lysets maler. Gyldendal, 1984. ISBN 82-05-14982-8
  • Koefoed, Holger. I Lars Hertervigs skog. Gyldendal, 1991 ISBN 82-05-19169-7
  • Fosse, Jon. Melancholia I. 1995.
  • Fosse, Jon. Melancholia II. 1996.