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Bigler, Brian J.; Mudrey, Lynn Martinson / The Norway Building of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair : a building's journey from Norway to America : an architectural legacy

Architectural legacy,   pp. 72-84 PDF (3.6 MB)

Page 73

t is fitting that Norway chose a stave church as its entry to the 1893
Exposition. In many ways, this represents the culmination of Norway's
search for a place in the artistic world of the turn of the century.
Throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century, new impulses of Nor-
wegian nationalism caused artists of all disciplines to look for ways to
express a rediscovery of their Nordic heritage. There was a flowering of
artistic achievement in the fine arts, and the arts and crafts enjoyed a
revival stemming from folk traditions. Artists drew upon ancient motifs
dating to Viking times to create works that expressed a truly Norwegian
character. The artistic theme that came to be most recognized on the inter-
national scene was the "Dragon Style" a blend of artistic elements bor-
rowed from Viking ships, the ancient stave churches dotting Norway's
landscape, Viking burial finds and folk art sources. "The style was at its
height in Norway in the decades following 1880, and found its expres-
sion above all in architecture and the crafts of the cabinetmaker and sil-
Waldemar Hansteen, the architect of the Norway Building, was deeply
involved in the artistic climate of his day. Born in Christiania in 1857,
Hansteen was educated abroad and returned to Christiania in 1881. In
following years, Hansteen became the head teacher at both Skien and
Christiania's evening technical schools, he was the architect for many gov-
ernment and institutional buildings, and was the principal architect
chosen to carry out the restoration of the Gol stave church when it was
moved from Hallingdal to the Royal Estate at Bygd0y in 1884 (now the
Norsk Folk Museum).

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