MUNTHE, Gerhard
(b. 1849, Skanshagen at Elverum, d. 1929, Baerum)

Mørkredd (Afraid of the Dark)

Hand-woven tapestry, cotton, wool, 175 x 233 cm
Kunstindustrimuseet, Oslo

In Scandinavia, artists combined local folk traditions with aspects of Japanese design and the Arts and Crafts aesthetic to create Art Nouveau tapestries that had flat shapes and definite outlines. From 1887 the Norwegian Frida Hansen introduced innovative weaving techniques. Gerhard Munthe developed a style based on medieval Norwegian tapestry, using natural dyes and simplified figures without modelling. One of the principal centres of tapestry-weaving in Norway was Gudbrandsdal. Throughout Scandinavia, local flax and wool continued to be used, and, following Arts and Crafts ideals, tapestries and other crafts were created for home environments. The Lutheran church revived the tradition of tapestries being hung in church buildings, commissioning works using folk designs.

The Mørkredd tapestry is hand-woven with multi-thread cotton yarn in the warp and two-thread wool yarn in the weft. It was woven by Augusta Christensen (1852-1923), a Norwegian weaver, one of the foremost in the country. She did not design the patterns herself but weaved after watercolours and cartons by other artists, mainly Gerhard Munthe. Mørkredd was made after a watercolour (1892, Nasjonalgalleriet, Oslo) by Munthe.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.