Herbjørn Nilson Gaustå also Herbjorn Gausta (June 16, 1854 – May 22, 1924) was an American artist who is best known for his landscapes, portraits and scenes from rural settings. He left an early record of immigrant life in his portraits and paintings and helped establish a place for art in the culture of Norwegian-Americans.
Gausta was born on the Gausta farm in Mæl, Tinn, Telemark, Norway. In 1867, Gausta immigrated to America with his parents and four sisters, settling on a farm near Harmony, Minnesota. Gausta entered a training program for parochial school teachers at Luther College in 1872. He left for Europe three years later on a stipend provided by the community of Decorah, Iowa under the leadership of Ulrik Vilhelm Koren. Gausta studied at Knud Bergslien’s Academy of Art in Oslo and also attended the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich.
He returned to Decorah and taught at Luther College during the 1886-1887 academic year. He lived with the U.V. Koren family at the Washington Prairie parsonage while teaching at Luther College. Subsequently, Gausta based his studio in Minneapolis, MN, where he supported himself principally by painting portraits of prominent Norwegian-Americans and producing altarpieces for Lutheran churches. His landscapes and genre paintings were well-received, particularly those painted during his early years. There are almost 60 paintings by Gausta in the Fine Arts Collection of Luther College.
Gausta taught at the University of Minnesota until his death in 1924. Gausta, who never married, was buried in Harmony, Minn., alongside a 16-foot granite monument which was erected in his honor in 1927.
- Nelson, O.N. History of the Scandinavians and Successful Scandinavians in the United States. (O.N. Nelson & Co. Minneapolis, MN. 1900)
- Nelson, Marion Paintings by Minnesotans of Norwegian Background, 1870-1970 (Minnesota Historical Society and Norwegian-American Historical Association. Northfield, MN. 2000)
- Jacobson, J.N. Herbjørn Gausta, (Telesoga. Vol. 2. 1950)
- Hansen, Carl G.O. My Minneapolis. (Minneapolis, MN: Standard Press, 1956) pp. 170–173.
- Anderson, Kristin M. Norwegian-American Altar Painting, 1880-1920. (M.A. Thesis, Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary, 1987)
- Norwegian American Artist (Norwegian American Hall of Fame)
- Herbjørn Gausta: Norwegian-American Painter (Nelson, Marion J. Americana Norvegica, Vol III, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. 1971)
- Herbjørn Gausta (Luther College Fine Art Collection)
- Yust For Fun by Eleonora and Ethel Olson, (Minneapolis: Eggs Press, 1979).
- "Historic Gausta paintings discovered during renovation of parsonage" by Lissa Greiner The Decorah Newspapers March 31, 2009.
- Setting the Trap
- Farm Landscape
- Fine Arts Collection at Vesterheim
- Washington Prairie Parsonage: pp. 78–79.
- Exhibition at U. S. Embassy in Oslo: pp. 26–27.
Luther College Fine Arts Collection
- Selected portraits
- 1882 Jacob D. Jacobsen
- 1883 Diderrike Brandt
- 1885 Herman Amberg Preus
- 1885 Caroline Keyser Preus
Drawing by Herbjørn Gausta
Drawings attributed to Herbjørn Gausta